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PLDT hits ‘reset’ button to overhaul TV5

Station to build its own niche, target younger audience

Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.  (PLDT) is hitting the “reset” button on TV5 as part of an overhaul in strategic direction to help the money-losing No. 3 television network turn a profit in three to four years, the division’s new CEO said.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, TV5 president Noel Lorenzana said specific details were still confidential but the intention was for TV5 to build its own niche rather than compete head on with top networks under ABS-CBN Corp. and GMA Network Inc., which still dominate local television.

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The plan will also involve revamping its programming, meaning some shows could be canceled in favor of a new lineup mainly catering to a “younger” audience, to drive up ratings.

“Basically we need to re-launch the station and programming and make sure it is relevant to advertisers,” said Lorenzana, who also heads PLDT’s media unit Mediaquest Holdings.

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“We want to target a different set of viewers compared to the core viewers of ABS and GMA,” he added.

Lorenzana, described as a marketing expert at Smart Communications before taking the helm at Mediaquest on June 1, said the shift would involve putting more focus on a younger audience or those “a little older” than 25 years of age.

“Clearly, new programs should be something that would appeal to the younger set, something that would be more progressive, more hopeful and uplifting,” Lorenzana said.

He did not detail what new shows would be added although he said these could involve more Oprah-like talk shows as well as variety shows and dramas.

These plans, he said, would help TV5 post a profit in three to four years.

Reports earlier showed that the network lost about P2.8 billion in the first half of 2012 after posting a P4.1-billion net loss for the full-year 2011 due to the intense competitive landscape. PLDT acquired control of the television network in 2010.

“It’s going to be brick by brick and you have to show milestones for it. Doing this in three to four years also allows me to put enough firepower in the shows and gives me enough time to overhaul the programming,” he said.

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Lorenzana said he also planned to rein in costs to improve earnings. He declined to give specific figures in terms of TV5’s capital spending budget, which he said would still be presented to the board next month.

“We will probably be maintaining big-ticket items like the Reliance studio [in Mandaluyong City]. For the rest, we need to prioritize,” he said.

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