GMA Network expanding reach in Luzon market

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MANILA, Philippines—GMA Network Inc. is expanding its reach in two key markets in Luzon as it seeks to cement its ratings dominance nationwide.

The company is opening studios and localized channels in Ilocos and Bicol.

In a statement, it said GMA Ilocos would go live starting Monday. GMA Ilocos will be seen via Channel 5 in Ilocos Norte and Channel 48 in Ilocos Sur and parts of Abra. GMA Ilocos is expected to serve about 208,110 households.

In the Bicol Region, GMA Naga is currently being seen via Channel 7 but beginning August, GMA Bicol will be seen in other areas of Legazpi, Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon via GMA TV Channel 12, reaching out to about 520,178 households.

The regional networks will mean more localized content, particularly for news and other public affairs programs. This will mean local advertising, which is expected to improve the company’s revenue.

“The network is set on capturing the interest of our viewers from different parts of the country by offering them programs that speak their native dialect,” GMA chair Felipe Gozon said.

“Through these programs, we are confident that we will be able to effectively reach more viewers and enable them to experience the Kapuso brand of Serbisyong Totoo,” he said.

Spearheaded by its local newscasts Balitang Ilokano and Balitang Bikolano, the two new stations will respond to regional viewers’ need for credible news and information, GMA said.

The Ilocos and Bicol stations will be equipped with program production as well as microwave and satellite facilities.

“Both of these stations are equipped with active news gathering systems capable of delivering live news coverage within the originating or neighboring provinces which can be aired locally or nationwide,” GMA president Gilberto Duavit said.

GMA is owned by the Duavit, Gozon and Jimenez families. Certain groups, including that of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, have expressed strong interest in buying into the broadcast network.

The Pangilinan group, which controls Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), runs Associated Broadcasting Corp., operator of TV5.

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