Saturday, August 19, 2006

Digital Broadcasters|GMA Invests in TV Transmitters

GMA, the Philippines leading private, digital broadcaster on August 18 reported its half year 2006 business results showing they were flat with 934 million Philippine pesos net income. The reasons given are an industry-wide slowdown in advertising income and the production cost of start-up TV channel, QTV-11. (USD1.00 = P51)

Gross revenues of P5.2 billion did increase however 13% from P4.6 billion in the same period in 2005. GMA says this is due continuing steady airtime sales of Channel 7 and additional subscriptions income from its international Pinoy TV satellite broadcast network.

The cost of maintaining strong ratings are reflecting in the 35% jump in program production costs to P2.8 billion allocated to prime time TV series to maintain its audience share.

The 56 year old, GMA Network is investing in the regions.

Heavy airtime and related promotional activities focused on the cities of Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo.

Terrestrial broadcaster, GMA Network is to invest in more broadcast equipment in the 2Q/2006.

With digital TV in mind, it has allocated more than P168 million for the upgrade of its television transmitters and other facilities in various key areas in the Philippine provinces.

Notably, GMA says it will expand and improve its existing studio production facilities in Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.

It will also be building and installing new radio and TV center in Dagupan City to further improve its coverage in the northern part of the country.

The television transmitter facilities to be upgraded include those that service Baguio, Dagupan City, La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Lipa, Northern Mindoro, Naga, Central Camarines Sur, General Santos, Saranggani, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

A new transmitter site will be chosen to cover Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental. That includes realignment in transmissions to Bukidnon.

GMA is on a fast track for all these installations.

These upgrades include new transmitting equipment, from transmitters to antenna systems and building/tower rehabilitation/construction. The facilities come complete with the essential support equipment for quality, reliable and continuous broadcast operation. The Network expects completion of these projects within the year.

GMA international satellite broadcasts of the subscription-based Pinoy TV channel launched one year ago, continues to grow. As of July 2006, GMA Pinoy TV already has more than 100,000 subscribers.

Pinoy TV is distributed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and Cerritos in the United States. Recently, both Direct TV and cable TV in Hawaii are carrying Pinoy TV programs.

Pinoy TV is targeted also to the Middle East and Malaysia, Japan, Guam, and Saipan, where it continues to increase its subscriber base.

GMA says that with marked improvement in QTV revenues going into the second half of the year, and the continuous upsurge in subscriber count of Pinoy TV, the Company is expected to hit, if not exceed, the same profit level as last year.

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