BIG WINNERS IN 2013 ELECTIONS | Networks GMA, ABS-CBN report advertising windfall

Photo by Bernard Testa means BUSINESS

MANILA - The Philippines' top two TV networks on Wednesday reported hefty profits in the first three months of the year on the back of huge windfall from the mid-term elections.

In a statement, GMA Network Inc said its net income grew by 55 percent to P603 million in the January to March period from P388 million last year.

Consolidated revenues climbed 24 percent to P3.24 billion from the previous year's P2.62 billion.

Airtime revenues rose 26 percent to P2.95 billion from P2.34 billion over the same period. Of the total airtime sales, political ad revenues reached P278 million, leaving regular ads with bulk of revenues at P2.673 billion.

Sales from subscription and others contributed P291 million, up from last year's P289 million.

“Such improvements validate our forecast that 2013 will be a particularly strong year for GMA. Our sales continue to grow at a steady pace and we look forward to the future with optimism,” Felipe L. Gozon, GMA Network chairman and chief executive, said.

GMA’s flagship Channel 7, which accounted for 85 percent of airtime earnings, enjoyed a 26 percent upsurge, while revenues from Regional TV, the business unit that manages GMA’s regional TV operations, grew by 85 percent following its expansion.

Operating expenses increased 13 percent year-on-year to P2.371 billion, primarily on increased production costs in a bid to strengthen GMA's programming.

Citing data from Nielsen, the network said it maintained leadership in the key areas of Urban Luzon and Mega Manila in the first quarter, a claim its main rival, ABS-CBN Corp, also made using data from Kantar.

Acquisition of Destiny Cable, pol ads

In a separate statement, rival ABS-CBN Corp said its net income grew by 66 percent to P508 million in the first quarter of the year from P306 million last year, on the back of regular and election-related ad revenues. 

Consolidated revenues went up by 21 percent to P7.9 billion, as ad revenues climbed 22 percent year-on-year to reach P4.4 billion.

Consumer sales brought in P3.5 billion, an 18 percent year-on-year increase, while Sky Cable saw a 43 percent surge in sales to P1.6 billion. 

ABS-CBN ascribed growth partly to the acquisition of Destiny Cable. To recall, the network's unit, SkyCable, last year bought Destiny.

ABS-CBN's costs and expenses increased by 17 percent year-on-year to P7.2 billion, brought about by higher production costs, cost of sales and services, and general and administrative expenses.

Capital expenditures and film and program rights acquisition cost P1.1 billion, flat from last year, the network said. is the online news portal of TV5.