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GMA Network expects to keep jobs

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GMA
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GMA Network, Inc. has no plans to reduce its workforce amid the ongoing pandemic crisis, its top official said.

“While some of our talents were affected when the Network temporarily suspended the production of most of our entertainment and public affairs programs, there is no particular plan, however, to cut jobs due to the pandemic crisis at this point,” GMA Network Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Felipe L. Gozon told BusinessWorld in an e-mailed reply to questions last week.

In March, the network said it would allocate P350 million for the salaries and benefits of its employees, talents and support personnel in light of the government-imposed lockdowns.

The media company operated on a lean workforce and adopted special work arrangements for its employees, talents and support personnel during the lockdown period.

“The impacts of the pandemic and the quarantine controls imposed to arrest the pandemic on GMA are similar to those on other companies. Because of the restrictions, we had to replay some of our high-rating programs. But with respect to our news and some of our public affairs programs, we continued to air them — not with replays — and, of course, we also suffer the setbacks in revenues that went along with the closure of some of the business activities plus lack of transportation, quarantine lockdowns, etc.,” Mr. Gozon said at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting recently.

“But lately, when the restrictions started to ease, we also started to bring back the showings of our programs in the sense that gradually we are producing more and more live programs, not replays, but on a limited basis to comply with the restrictions imposed by the government. In the coming days, you will see more and more of our programs returning to the air,” he added.

Mr. Gozon also said the company is free of debt as of end-March, emphasizing its “ability to balance ratings growth with sound financials.”

In the first three months of 2020, GMA saw its net income plunge by 19% to P583.42 million with the lack of political ads and the pandemic-induced quarantine imposed in the middle of March. Total revenues were down 7% in the first quarter to P3.53 billion.

“In the next months and years, we will see a transformation of the broadcast industry,” Mr. Gozon said. — Arjay L. Balinbin





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