GMA Network has positioned itself as the premier source of Filipino dramas for the international market and a trusted beacon of news and information for viewers in the Philippines.
“It is truly noteworthy how the people at GMA—or as we fondly refer to as our Kapuso (one in heart)—responded with courage and bravery in the face of crisis,” says Felipe L. Gozon, chairman and CEO of GMA Network. “In 2020, as the country and the world battled the pandemic, the Network remained steadfast in delivering much-needed news and information to Filipinos across all our platforms. And toward the latter part of the year, fresh episodes of our entertainment programs were also aired as an added value to our viewers.”
The company has fortified its digital TV products, beginning with the high-quality and affordable set-top box, the GMA Affordabox, which sold almost 1 million units in the first six months since its launch last year. This was followed by a mobile dongle version for smartphones, GMA Now. Viewers were also treated to four new digital channels that cater to the different viewing interests: Heart of Asia, Hallypop, DepEd TV and I Heart Movies, which complement the free-to-air channels GMA and GTV.
“Indeed, it was a stellar year for GMA, as we recorded the best performance in its 70-year history across all financial indicators,” Gozon says. “Our net income after tax reached over PhP6 billion ($126 million), which soared by 128 percent from 2019. Consolidated revenues nearly surpassed the PhP20-billion mark ($419 million), or a 17 percent hike from 2019, notwithstanding the effects of the pandemic and the absence of three-fourths of a billion worth of non-recurring political advocacies and advertisements from the 2019 midterm national elections.”
For the international market, GMA continues to deliver Filipino dramas for partners looking for “outside-the-box and beyond conventional stories,” says Roxanne J. Barcelona, VP of the Worldwide Division. “Our clients acquire our top-rating dramas and romantic comedies because they not only entertain but also give hope and touch the hearts of viewers, especially during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our catalog of series produced under the new normal continues to receive a positive response from partners across Asia and Latin America, while our family and romantic dramas resonate well with audiences in Sub-Saharan Africa.” She adds that the Filipino values of resilience, perseverance and familial love are relatable in these markets.
“GMA is known to push boundaries and continues to experiment on productions with themes like crime/action, supernatural and suspense,” Barcelona adds. The Network continues to produce fresh content, including a number of big-budget fantasy-adventure series with special effects, among them are The Eagle’s Quest (Agimat ng Agila), Lolong and the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of Japanese anime Voltes V: Legacy. Also on GMA’s 2021 slate are the provocative dramas Legal Wives, The World Between Us and Flames of Love, as well as the record-breaking, top-rating romantic comedy series The First Nanny and Owe My Love.
“GMA is also in discussions with several production partners in Asia for co-production opportunities to deliver content that will surely make a mark with audiences across Asia,” says Barcelona.
The interest, she says, is for family dramas, romantic comedies and romantic dramas. There are ongoing deals for the hit daytime dramas Prima Donnas and Broken Faithand the prime-time ratings hits Descendants of the Sun (the Philippine adaptation), I Can See You, Love of My Life and The First Nanny.
GMA’s original dramas are also available for remakes. “GMA has drama formats with unique storylines with relatable themes that are common to many markets, especially in Asia and Latin America,” Barcelona says. “Themes on family values, faith/spirituality and enduring friendships are topics that are common to a global audience.” Its drama formats have been sold into Mexico, Vietnam and Cambodia. “We make sure that the scripts we offer to a particular territory are flexible enough to introduce local elements that will make it more appealing to their local viewers.”
As GMA Network looks ahead to the rest of 2021 and the coming year, the plan is to continue to invest in long-term, sustainable value creation, according to Gozon.
“We announced early this year that GMA Network earmarked more than PhP20 billion ($419 million) for our capital expenditures and content cost for the next three years. The budget is allotted for new upgrades in terms of our content production and post-production, construction of a new building and state-of-the-art studios, and the ongoing expansion of our DTT reach to further strengthen our nationwide presence. We are also beginning to gear up for the upcoming elections this 2022, which is another defining moment in our country’s history.
“In terms of content, we will likewise continue to be focused on providing meaningful and superior entertainment for our viewers. In the coming months, we are launching nearly 100 programs consisting of Network-produced and acquired foreign programs.”
Amid these long-term plans, GMA Network is also keeping an eye on what is urgent, Gozon adds, including “protecting our people from Covid-19 by providing free Moderna vaccines for our employees and talents on a voluntary basis. For us at GMA, helping ensure the safety of our Kapuso and of our fellow Filipinos is an integral part of our commitment to Serbisyong Totoo (genuine service).”
See GMA Network’s Summer 2021 Showcase here.