GMA7 bullish, but not in the market
When GMA7 chair and chief executive officer Felipe L. Gozon met with the press recently for a briefing on the channel’s new primetime and afternoon lineup, the P500-billion question hovered in the atmosphere like the proverbial 300-pound gorilla.
Would Gozon sell GMA 7 to TV5 big boss Manny V. Pangilinan for the reported P500-billion offer?
With characteristic candor, Gozon tackled the issue head-on: “If the offer is P500 billion… even if I’m asleep, wake me up and I’d sell right away.”
Of course, that windfall would allow him to fulfill a long-cherished dream of buying his own cruise ship and traveling around the world with his family. Then again, he was quick to point out, the scuttlebutt just wasn’t true.
“That figure is out of this world. [TV5 president and CEO] Ray Espinosa himself said it was a wild rumor,” Gozon said.
What about IBC?
But is the Kapuso network eyeing IBC 13?
Gozon related that the firm Sycip Gorres Velayo &Co. had consulted him about beleaguered channels RPN 9 and IBC 13, which are under government sequestration.
He said he looked into the two channels’ books and saw they were in the red. “Unless the government absorbs these station’s’ liabilities, no one will buy them,” he noted. “I heard [block-timer] Solar has converted its collectibles with RPN 9 into equity.”
He went straight to the issue: “If you’re asking me if GMA 7 will buy IBC 13, all I can say is… abangan [wait and see].”
But is he afraid of TV5?
He shook his head vehemently. “TV5 has the money. TV5 is outbidding everyone, in terms of talent fees.”
Historically, he recounted, GMA 7 prevailed over fierce rival ABS-CBN not with cash, but through sheer guts and determination. “In 2000, no one was paying GMA 7 any serious attention. We had old cameras and equipment. We had only 35 employees and had a P1.9-billion debt.”
In 11 years, he said, GMA 7 grew into a market leader with over 3,000 employees and a net worth of P 32.7 billion.
More than setting his sights on other stations, he’s bullish about the Kapuso network’s current channels, local and international.
In the past, he said, the network had to buy existing komiks or movie titles and produced remakes. “But we’ve grown more confident with our own creative department and can now produce original programs.”
The channel’s lineup for the first quarter of 2012 mainly consists of original programs in primetime series like “Legacy,” “Biritera” and “My Beloved,” and afternoon shows like “Broken Vow,” “The Good Daughter,” “Hiram na Puso” and “Alice Bungisngis and Her Wonder Walis.”
“We hope to create more original titles, to build our own inventory and meet the programming needs of both our local and international channels,” Gozon said.
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