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GMA Network turns to digital, distribution partnerships to boost revenue

GMA Network Inc. is boosting its digital presence and pursuing more content distribution partnerships in a bid to create more revenue streams amid a slowdown in advertising sales due to a confluence of external and local factors.

During the company’s annual stockholders meeting, GMA Network Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon said that “the advertising industry slowdown is caused by global events beyond our control —the Russia-Ukraine war, the rising fuel prices, the shortage of raw materials for some industries, rising inflation, rising underemployment and unemployment, etc.”

He reported that the company’s topline last year saw a 4% dip “due to the industry wide-reduction in advertising spending.”

To address the decline in advertising revenue, Gozon said is working on several initiatives.

“We introduced a pricing innovation this year, called IDR or Incremental Digital Reach, which provides incremental audiences to advertisers within the digital space. This means we are able to monetize our content on-air and online,” he said.

Gozon said the “digital is gaining ground.”

“YouTube executives were amazed at the growth in audience reach, content and revenue GMA has been logging in since February of this year. We see this uptick also in Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and our own portals as more and more of the Gen Z’s consume GMA on these platforms,” he said.

In 2022, Gozon said that GMA led in video viewership on Facebook and YouTube.

“We finished 2022 with more than 75 million subscribers across various YouTube channels and reached 162.4 million followers/fans on our official Facebook accounts. Powered by the strong performance and high levels of engagement in each of our digital platforms, GMA’s online properties delivered 34.5 billion video views,” he said.

“Our AVOD or Advertising-based Video on Demand platforms bested other Filipino media companies on Tubular Leaderboard Worldwide Rankings for the entire fourth quarter of 2022, ending the year at Number 17, in a list that includes global content giants such as Walt Disney, Moonbug, Paramount, and Warner Bros,” he added.

In terms of revenue, Gozon said GMA AVOD platforms hit their highest revenue to date in December 2022, bringing in close to $1.1 million.

“Our portal GMA managed by the Program Support Department, surpassed all other Filipino media sites in both local and global ranking by December 2022, and that is according to Similar Web. GMA News Online emerged as the most trusted online platform in the Digital News Report 2022 released by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. As part of the initiatives to strengthen our digital ecosystem, we started the simultaneous streaming of GMA programs on YouTube through GMA New Media’s Kapuso Stream,” he said.

Gozon added the company is also getting into strategic distribution partnerships with other platforms.

“This is the reason why Maria Clara & Ibarra continues to be #1 in Netflix Philippines, and The Write One amongst the Top 5 most-watched in Viu Philippines. Recently, we signed a distribution deal with TFC/iWantTV for Europe and the Middle East, etc., so we are pretty excited about the deal,” he said.

On free-to-air TV, Gozon said the company is expanding beyond its flagship Channel 7 “so that the #2 station, GTV, and the 4 DTT (digital terrestrial TV) channels are giving us revenue streams even higher than the past year.”

“Regional TV is also gaining traction, from both national and local advertisers, who want to be more selective in advertising in their priority areas,” he said.

As far as ratings are concerned, Gozon said that, based on Nielsen’s ratings covering May 1-11, “GMA continues to be the leading channel nationwide with an audience share of 44%.”

“GTV ranked second in Urban Philippines with 9.6% people audience share,” he said.

GMA Network is also continuing to expand its content partnerships to reach more audiences on-air and online. 

“We are into production deals with various producers outside GMA – we work with TAPE, Regal, VIVA, ABS-CBN and even independent producers,” Gozon said.

“Lastly, we like to believe that we have exemplary fiscal management,” he added. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News