What I would do if I were GMA boss

Last week, this blog and Ralph Domingo’s From the Tube discussed and enumerated GMA Network’s present and persistent problems which aims to debunk their never-ending claims to the leadership of the ratings game in Philippine broadcast television. (to fantards reading this thinking na may pinapanigan kami, sorry na lang kayo.)

This time I would like to enumerate my plans if given the chance to run the network, and probably to that effect finally giving substance to claims of being number one.

End the blocktime agreement with Zoe, and relaunch GMA News TV

In 2004, GMA Network and Jesus Is Lord Movement-owned Zoe Broadcasting entered into a long-term airtime lease agreement wherein Zoe retains ownership to the franchise of Channel 11’s frequency while GMA leases its airtime and manages its marketing.

The deal was put into effect when GMA launched QTV which was originally intended to a female audiences. Despite good programming and decent ratings (even clinching the 3rd spot in the short term), high costs and low returns finally put a dent in its performance.

Hence, in 2011, QTV ceased operations and was relaunched as GMA News TV. Initially a promising station as it draws on GMA News’ wide resources and its recognizable Serbisyong Totoo brand, in the end it ended up as a disappointment with its inaction during select special events coverage and the notable inclusion of non-news related programming, along with the inclusion of sign-on and sign-off hours.

A possible solution to this problem is finally abandoning the VHF band and instead relaunch GMA News TV (maybe rebrand it simply as GMA News) on digital television and online. GMA will tap on the great potential of digital television with its clear, crisp signal and even make use of the Emergency Warning Broadcast System (EWBS) and Broadcast Markup Language (BML) features to the benefit of the viewers. We’ll also make use of the internet to further expand GMA News TV’s reach, as more people consume news content online and on the go, and because it is on the go. This is what CBSN (CBS News’ online news channel) is doing.

As for the present format of “GMA News TV” (or former Q), we can revive it on DTT by launching GMA Life TV in the Philippines.

Enter into a strategic partnership with Solar

GMA Network’s partnership with Solar Entertainment is present during Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s boxing matches as well as select special events, including the just-concluded Miss Universe 2016, but we would like to expand it into a long-term agreement, most especially during sporting events, given the high costs of procuring the rights to broadcast international sporting events and producing local sports properties.

I’d like to see GMA and Solar to team up in acquiring the rights to broadcast the PBA, Philippine Super Liga, NCAA to name a few local sports events but we’ll also acquire the rights to broadcast FIBA, the WWE, and others.

To further expand our presence in cable, maybe acquire a 50% stake in Solar and give the Tiengs management positions in the new GMA.

Revitalize the regional and radio networks

In 2015, GMA cut back its regional operations in an effort to save costs. As a result, the stations in Iloilo, Ilocos, Naga, and Cagayan de Oro were downgraded while the originating stations in Dagupan, Cebu, and Davao limiting its original programs to daily newscasts. This severely affected GMA’s presence in the regions.

GMA under our management will once again kick-start expansion efforts in the regions and extensively promote ourselves. We’ll expand the production of local in-house programming and even launch a channel on DTT focusing on regional programming. By contrast to ABS-CBN Regional Channel, this GMA regional channel will be similar to the American broadcast networks devoting time to regional and national programming.

As for radio, we will rebrand DZBB as GMA News Radyo, once again drawing from GMA News’ wide resources and providing GMA News TV a complementary medium. We could possibly retain Barangay LS but maybe rebrand and reformat it as something else.

Massive overhaul of programming

Our GMA’s programming will greatly deviate from its present grid. GMA will stop trying to imitate whatever ABS-CBN has to offer and instead counter everything ABS-CBN and TV5 has to offer.

Our GMA will spearhead weekly programs, a daily news-talk program on primetime, a talk show on Saturday night, a transfer of Bubble Gang to Sundays, and some other changes to programming.

We’ll fire Lilybeth Rasonable and appoint Tony Tuviera and Malou Choa Fagar as replacement content officers. We’ll entrust production to some of GMA’s directors (Mark Reyes, Dominic Zapata, and others).

Other improvements

To better improve the stars’ quality and to protect them, we’ll get directors Bb. Joyce Bernal and Jose Javier Reyes. 

GMA will also get greater access to financing by occasionally borrowing from banks and ensuring they’re paid on time and invite possible investors like Ramon Ang, SM, and Globe.

We’ll finally launch an online streaming service to be dubbed GMA Online so everyone can enjoy programs anytime, anywhere without ever relying on pirate sites and YouTube. This also has livestreaming of Channel  7 which the present management refuses to do.

GMA Records will promote original Filipino music not only in Tagalog but also local languages like Cebuano. GMA Films will be tapped to produce made-for-TV movies, and also improve GMA’s international television channels.

These are only some of what I propose or intend to do with GMA, if only given the chance. Maybe this will give the present management ideas on how to improve themselves before they decide to sell. There’s not much we can do about it, but who knows? Let’s see.


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