Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) is set to pour more cash into affiliate Associated Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), operator of the money-losing TV5 network, as it hopes to grab a larger share of the broadcast advertising pie.
PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan this week said TV5 would spend over P6 billion in 2013 to improve its program lineup and expand nationwide coverage.
PLDT’s decision to set aside P6 billion for the TV network came about after ABC lost P2.8 billion in the first half of last year. The broadcast station was also expected to remain in the red in the second semester of 2012.
“We probably had to put in more [resources into ABC],” Pangilinan recently told reporters.
Pangilinan was unfazed by TV5’s failure to post a profit five years after the PLDT group took control of the broadcast firm.
The bulk of the P6 billion to be invested by the PLDT group will go to TV5’s new corporate headquarters and news studio in Mandaluyong City. Over P1 billion will also be spent to expand the coverage of affiliate pay TV firm Cignal TV.
“You don’t let go of a child after just five years,” Pangilinan said when asked if he was disappointed with the firm’s performance.
He said TV5’s ratings have improved significantly under the control of PLDT, but this has yet to translate into ad revenues high enough to cover expenses.
“Competition is tough. ABS-CBN and GMA are both competent media companies,” Pangilinan said.
Data from AGB Nielsen for January to December 2012 showed that TV5 accounted for an average total day nationwide audience share of 15.1 percent, trailing behind GMA Network’s 34.4 percent and ABS-CBN’s 31.5 percent.
Pangilinan said TV5’s ratings started to improve following the launch of new shows at the primetime slot, where ad minutes are most profitable.
TV5 recently moved the game show Wowowillie, hosted by the controversial Willie Revillame, to the noontime slot, going up against GMA Network’s “Eat Bulaga” and ABS-CBN’s “Showtime.”
The Pangilinan group’s interests in the media sector are under MediaQuest Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of PLDT’s Beneficial Trust Fund.