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MANILA, Philippines - Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan told an entertainment magazine that media network TV5 is his favorite venture among those in the diversified portfolio he manages in the Philippines.
In the November issue of Yes! magazine, Pangilinan stressed that the entertainment aspect of third-liner TV5, which is a venture that has yet to make a profit since his group acquired control of it in 2010, allows him to "feel human."
When asked which of the businesses he leads is his favorite, "he answers without hesitation, 'Actually, showbiz! Doon deretso ka (your impact on and the feedback is straight from the people). You feel the human life there…all of its stark realities'," the magazine quoted him as saying.
He chairs several major industry players, including telecom giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), gold producer Philex Mining Corp., and infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), which has stakes in other utilities, like water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services and power retailer Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).
"Parang (it's like) you're a step detached from your customer when you deliver water, deliver electricity. You don't quite get into their lives. You don't quite get the experience of a television station in a Meralco or PLDT or even in Smart or expressways," he explained.
"When you watch Face to Face (a tabloid talk show aired on TV5), that's the Filipino way of life," he added.
He acknowledged that entertainment media involves a different world and lifestyle from the corporate one he's used to.
When asked how he deals with it, he replied, "Well, it cannot consume me…I mean, compared to other companies we have, TV5 is rather small, so I cannot pre-occupy myself with matters of TV5."
The magazine featured Pangilinan and his posh Hong Kong apartment, and mentioned that he hosted and gave a pep talk to the first batch of students-cum-contestants in a TV5 reality talent show there.
Profitable by 2015
Pangilinan also said business realities of running a media group -- which involves not just billions of investments in equipment and other hardware, but also having homegrown talents -- meant being flexible with financial targets.
In 2010, the executives assigned to handle TV5, led by Ray Espinosa, forecasted that the media firm will zoom past industry leaders ABS-CBN Corp and GMA Network Inc. by 2013.
"My suggestion to TV5 is, it will take longer than anticipated," he said, admitting that the original target to get into black has been reset to 2015.
"I think eventually we will turn TV5 around. The question is, will it be a good investment rather than a great investment? It's a big unknown, but we will certainly give it a good try--our best try," he stressed.
In October, the Pangilinan group announced that its effort to increase the scale of its media assets buy acquiring control of the second largest media group, GMA-7 of GMA Network, is not pushing through.
The much-anticipated business deal was expected as a game changer both in the media and telecommunications industries.
Pangilinan reiterated that both industries have reached mature stage and need new sources of growth. Convergence between the two have been pursued for this goal.
All the media-related assets of the Pangilinan-led group are under MediaQuest Holdings, PLDT's retirement arm. - Rappler.com
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