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TV5 to overhaul programs in a bid to trim costs means BUSINESS

MANILA - The operator of TV5 will overhaul its programs and trim costs in a bid to cut losses in the near term, as its chairman admitted that it would "take longer" before the network turns in a profit.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of ABC Development Corp, said losses in the second half of 2012 are likely to mimic the P2.8 billon hemorrhage in the January to June period.

"[But] we do expect it to reduce in the coming years," Pangilinan said, adding for next year alone, revenues would improve because of election spending.

One of the major reprogramming moves is the transfer of Willie Revillame's "Wil Time Bigtime" show to noontime from its current primetime slot.

The variety show's primetime slot pits it against the news programs of rivals ABS-CBN and GMA Network. With the transfer to noontime, "Wil Time Bigtime" would go head-to-head with "Showtime" (ABS-CBN) and "Eat Bulaga" (GMA7).

"I think it's best to reposition and reformat the show. It would costs us, but we would expect a better revenue," Pangilinan said.

He said production of the show would also transfer from the Novaliches studio to the newly refurbished Delta Theater.

"So, we have to program how to replace those primetime hours. We needed someone like him to give the first boost for TV5 so we needed to anchor the primetime. We still have to finalize our program grid," Pangilinan said. 

He said MediaQuest Holdings' investment in print and radio was "okay," adding that, "It's really the TV5 that continues to struggle. It will take longer than expected to become profitable."

MediaQuest holds the media assets of the PLDT group. Apart from TV5, MediaQuest also owns Cignal as well as 30 percent of BusinessWorld, 10 percent of Philippine Daily Inquirer and 20 percent of Philippine Star.

Napoleon Nazareno, president of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co, had said the company would invest more in TV5 to build the network after the botched talks for the company's buyout of GMA7's major shareholders, namely the families of Gozon, Duavit and Jimenez, who own a combined 79 percent of the broadcast company.

Earlier, the PLDT board approved a P6 billion investment in TV5 and Cignal, the group's satellite TV service. The investment would be in the form of a subscription in Philippine Depository Receipts that MediaQuest would issue.

Of the total amount approved, P4.8 billion would go to TV5 and the remaining P1.2 billion to Cignal. is the online news portal of TV5.