ABS-CBN Corp. said it was able to exceed its 2017 target, but took in less than it did in 2016’s haul which was attributed to election-related advertisement spending.

The listed broadcasting giant said it booked a net income of P3.16 billion last year, above the target of P3 billion disclosed earlier in 2017. This however was 10% less than the company’s P3.52-billion in earnings in 2016 when the last presidential elections were held.

If one excluded 2016’s election-related revenues and expenses, ABS-CBN Chief Financial Officer Aldrin M. Cerrado said net income would have increased 29% in 2017.

Revenues, on the other hand, stood at P40.7 billion, 2% lower than the P41.6-billion it generated in 2016.

Mr. Cerrado noted that this is an improvement compared to previous years directly after presidential elections, when revenues would typically drop by around 10%.

“After every presidential election, normally our regular advertising revenue would drop by 10%. If you recall from 2010 to 2011, there was a 10% drop in revenue by ABS-CBN. But in 2017, even after the presidential election, our revenues were flat, so that’s good news for us,” Mr. Cerrado said at an investors’ briefing in Taguig Friday, March 23.

Advertisements accounted for the bulk of the company’s revenues at P21 billion or 52% of the total pie, while consumer followed with P16.9 billion. Digital terrestrial television, or the segment that produces TV Plus boxes, accounted for the remaining 6%.

ABS-CBN sold 4.3 million TV Plus boxes in 2017, translating to an average of 167,000 boxes every month. TV Plus boxes allow the company to reach viewers in areas with weak signals, resulting in more viewers for the network.

Also allowing the company to reach its profit target was its flat costs and expenses for 2017, which stood at P36.6 billion versus P36.7 billion in 2016. ABS-CBN said it managed to reduce production costs by 2% on an hourly basis.

ABS-CBN was able to spend P7.9 billion in capital expenditures last year from a budget of P8 billion.

The company also claimed a ratings lead in 2017, citing a report by Kantar Media national TV ratings covering both urban and rural homes that showed that 10 top programs for free-to-air television were from ABS-CBN, including its long-running evening show FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Shares in ABS-CBN lost five centavos or 0.18% to P28.40 each at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday. — Arra B. Francia