GMA Network Inc., the main rival of ABS-CBN Corp. which went off the air in May, said Monday it expects net profit to be higher this year despite the drop in first-quarter earnings brought about by the health crisis.
“In terms of bottom line results, given a steady top line coupled with cost-cutting measures implemented by the network, we are optimistic that we can surpass 2019 net profit,” GMA chairman and chief executive Felipe Gozon said in an e-mail to Manila Standard.
The broadcast network posted a net income of P2.63 billion in 2019, up 14 percent from P2.32 billion in 2018 as consolidated revenues improved 8 percent to P16.49 billion from P15.23 billion.
Gozon said the general reduction in revenues in the first quarter was due to the COVID-19 and the subsequent enhanced community quarantine.
“However, sales have started to pick up recently. It must be noted though, that last year’s top line included non-recurring election-related inflows which might be difficult to match this year,” he said.
“Although incremental revenues are expected from the distribution of GMA Affordabox, the company’s newest venture was launched only towards the end of the first half this year,” Gozon said.
He said the company was poised to exceed the initial GMA Affordabox sales projection of 600,000 for the balance of the year.
“We are likewise continuously working on expanding its coverage in addition to the initial areas,” Gozon said.
Affordabox is available in Metro Manila, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte.
GMA’s net income fell 19 percent in the first quarter to P583 million in the absence of political ads and the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in March.
Consolidated advertising revenues declined 7 percent in the first three months to P3.52 billion from P3.79 billion in the same period last year.
GMA said that of the total, advertising revenues accounted for P3.25 billion and subscription and other revenues amounted to P277.5 million.
GMA’s rival network, ABS-CBN Corp., was ordered closed by the National Telecommunication Commission on May 5 after the Lopez-controlled company failed to secure a new franchise from Congress. Most programs of ABS-CBN, however, are still available on SkyCable channels.