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GMA Network posts P1.13-B net income in 1st half, up 23%
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By JAMES A. LOYOLA

Broadcast company GMA Network reported a 23 percent growth in its consolidated net income to P1.13 billion in the first half of the year from P915 million in the same period last year.

In a briefing yesterday, GMA senior vice president for finance Felipe Yalong said the growth in profits came on the back of stronger revenues as well as lower income taxes due to the income tax holiday of its international cable operations Pinoy TV.

The firm is expected to earn about P2.5 billion, up 25 percent from last year, since first half earnings are traditionally 45 percent to 47 percent of total profits in the broadcast industry.

GMA has also been consistently growing by over 20 percent annually, and GMA Chairman Felipe Gozon said the growth rate is sustainable.

Consolidated revenues for the first semester reached P5.7 billion, 7 percent higher than the P5.3 billion posted in the same period in 2006 as both Channel 7 and QTV experienced growth, with QTV registering a 36 percent jump.

"Political advertisements as well as the increase in subscriber count of the company’s international operations also contributed to revenues," said Gozon.

Cumulative revenues from GMA’s international channel, Pinoy TV, and syndication reached P207 million, an increase of 61 percent over last year’s figures.

On the other hand, consolidated cash operating expenses climbed by a slower 3 percent to P2.62 billion as production costs and talent fees of Channel 7, which accounted for 44 percent of the total cash opex, were slightly higher than last year.

"The change in primetime program mix as well as the staging of the network’s elections coverage program translated into higher production costs," said GMA executive vice president Gilberto Duavit Jr.

With the increase in revenues outpacing the surge in expenses, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) stood at P2.21 billion, 17 percent higher than the figures for the previous year.

Gozon said GMA maintained its lead in Mega Manila TV ratings for the first half of 2007 citing Mega Manila TV ratings data from AGB-Nielsen which showed that GMA posted an average total day rating of 17.1 percent against ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation’s P14.5 percent.

In the second half, GMA will be spending P673 million of its P900 million capital expenditure program for the year to boost its signal in the provinces and build five studios in Quezon City, Iloilo, Davao and Cebu.

Gozon said they are installing new transmitters and studios in the provinces where rival ABSCBN still maintains the lead in ratings. He noted though that GMA leads in Central Luzon and Mega Manila which accounts for 76 percent of total TV households.(JAL)

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