‘Synergy’ with GMA-7 to help TV5

TV5 president and CEO Ray Espinosa sees lower production costs and expanded reach, among other things.

MANILA, Philippines – While stressing that GMA Network officials have denied negotiations with TV5, the third largest broadcast media’s president and CEO, Ray Espinosa, sees a “synergy” between them to lower production costs and expand TV5’s reach.

“We’re open to that kind of an arrangement or investment,” Espinosa told Rappler at the sidelines of a TV5 program launch on Wednesday, February 15.

“(If) the synergies between the #1 and the #3 are really very good, production costs and other costs would go down, and quality would improve tremendously for (TV)5. Networks can become even more far-reaching,” he added.

For the past few months, TV5 has been rumored to have offered a mind-boggling and irresistible deal to acquire GMA Network Inc, or GMA-7. Both camps have denied this, however.

Espinosa pointed out that GMA Network’s top two executives – chair and CEO Felipe Gozon, and president and COO Gilberto Duavit Jr – have both denied the said deal. “I guess we have to respect their word,” Espinosa said.

Late last year, Espinosa had denied the reported negotiations between the 2 networks. “If that was possible, we would be open-minded about it,” he said.

‘For the right price’

In January, GMA Network chair Gozon said he is open to selling shares in the broadcast giant “for the right price.”

The Gozons are one of the 3 families – including the Duavits and Jimenezes – that own and control GMA-7.

Later, the GMA-7 chair said he “cannot speak for the other owners.”

“If I receive an offer of a high price like P200 billion, I am willing to share MY shares,” Gozon said in a statement posted on the GMA News Facebook page.

“We have not received any offer as of now,” Gozon added, reacting to the rumored P500 billion buy-out offer from the group of business mogul Manuel V Pangilinan, who owns TV5. “You can wake me up at night if it is true.”

GMA Network, a publicly listed firm, has a market share hovering around P22 billion, a fraction of Gozon’s target price. Since the rumored deal with the Pangilinan-led TV5 group, GMA’s price have been inching up.

The network was reported to be on the auction block several times in the past, but deals involving the network and Pangilinan’s companies eventually fizzled out

‘Challenging’ to be No. 3

Controlled by Pangilinan-led group’s media unit MediaQuest, TV5 is now the Philippines’ 3rd largest broadcast network in terms of audience share, next to GMA-7 and ABS-CBN.

“We want to really establish ourselves as the 3rd network and solidify that position,” Espinosa said.

Describing how it feels to be #3, Espinosa said “it’s really challenging.”

“The entire company, the entire staff are all challenged by having to work very hard to achieve our objectives. We’re all gung-ho about it,” Espinosa said.

TV5’s executive vice president and COO, Roberto Barreiro, said the network wants to reach an audience share of over 20% in 2012 – to gradually catch up with GMA-7 and ABS-CBN, which have an audience share of over 30%.

“It’s a multi-year target. Of course at the end of the day, we want to be #1,” Barreiro said.

“It’s really not about competition alone,” Barreiro added. “It’s being able to offer the best we can for our viewers.” – Rappler.com