GMA Network, Inc. (GMA) on Thursday reported a 25-percent increase in first-quarter net income to P408 million.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Felipe L. Gozon, however, confirmed that the network is trimming its workforce, particularly in regional stations that are no longer profitable.
“One thing we do not want is to be overstaffed. We have to maintain a lean organization,” Gozon told reporters on the sidelines of the network’s announcement of its first quarter financial results.
“Sa regional at the moment, tapos na e. Dito sa main office, hindi pa eh [At the regional level, it is done. Here in the main office, it is not yet finished], it’s a continuing process,” he said.
When asked how many employees are to be laid off, Gozon replied, “We don’t know. It’s a constant review, pag nagdagdag kami ng gagawin, magdadagdag kami ng tao. Pag meron kaming operation na diniscontiue, di magtatanggal kami [if we have new projects, we will be hiring people. If there are operations to be discontinued, then we will have to lay off people].”
“Nalugi kami eh, at saka walang ratings. In short, wala nang silbi. Di ba itong business naming, rating and revenue lang ito [We lost money, and they failed to rate. In short, they had become useless. In this business, only rating and revenue matter],” Gozon told reporters.
He added “Kung parehong wala, anong gagawin mo? Di ba obvious naman yun, no-brainer. Yung ginawa naming, no brainer lang yun [If both are absent, what will you do? It is obvious, it’s a no-brainer. What we did, it’s a no-brainer]. There’s nothing new.”
The strategic streamlining being undertaken by the network is geared toward increasing ratings and revenues of all of its regional stations for more efficient operationS.
The network earlier said, “We are not closing down any regional station. Pending completion of the study and recommendation of the Regional TV Review Committee, all the existing regional stations other than Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Dagupan will be continued as satellite selling stations.”
Though some regional programs in the morning and afternoon were cancelled, the afternoon news programs of Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Dagupan remain and will be further strengthened.
“As mentioned in our earlier statement, all affected personnel will be offered severance packages,” it said earlier.
“This undertaking is not connected to the impending talks with Mr. Ramon S. Ang,” the network earlier said.
Q1 net income up
GMA on Thursday also reported a net income of P408 million for the first quarter of 2015, posting a double-digit growth of 25 percent versus the same period last year.
“Our performance in the first quarter is a good indication that 2015 will be a much better year for our company. We are hoping to sustain this momentum throughout the year,” Gozon said.
GMA said revenues for the first three months improved by 5 percent to P3.006 billion, with higher airtime sales from Channel 7, GMA News TV and radio accounting for the increase.
Operating expenses slightly went up by 3 percent to P2.432 billion due to the increase in production costs as the network continued to strengthen its programming content.
GMA ended the quarter with an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of P986 million, up 20 percent from a year ago.
Earlier, its board of directors approved the payment of cash dividends amounting to P1.215 billion or P0.25 centavos per share. The dividend is payable on May 19, 2015 to shareholders on record as of April 24, 2015.
GMA Channel 7 registered a 6-percent growth in its top line, driving the increase in total airtime sales, which grew 7 percent to P2.711 billion.
GMA News TV improved its revenues by 17 percent, while the company’s radio business likewise delivered positive results with its sales increasing by 26 percent on account of DZBB and Barangay LSFM’s strong listenership.
By the end of the first quarter, flagship channel GMA Pinoy TV had an estimated 1.4 million viewers worldwide, a 6 percent increase from the same period in 2014.
GMA reigned supreme in TV ratings across NUTAM (National Urban Television Audience Measurement), Urban Luzon and Mega Manila in the first quarter, according to the industry’s widely-trusted ratings service provider Nielsen TV Audience Measurement.
GMA registered a 34 percent household audience share in NUTAM versus ABS-CBN’s 33.9 percent and TV5’s 10.4 percent.
GMA also fortified its dominant position in Urban Luzon and Mega Manila, where it led competition by larger margins.
In Urban Luzon, GMA garnered 38 percent, 8.1 points ahead of ABS-CBN’s 29.9 percent, and 28.9 points ahead of TV5’s 9.1 percent.
GMA posted an even bigger lead in Mega Manila with 39.8 percent, up 13.3 points from ABS-CBN’s 26.5 percent and up 30.4 points from TV5’s 9.4 percent.