ABS-CBN, GMA also win big in 2019 Philippine elections

MANILA, Philippines – Winners of the 2019 elections have started thanking supporters, while some losers are set to file protests. But the clear winners in this political exercise? TV networks.

GMA Network reported on Wednesday, May 15, that its consolidated net income after taxes in the 1st quarter of 2019 soared by 69% to P721.76 million, compared to the same period in 2018.

The Kapuso network's consolidated revenues also grew by 14% to P3.8 billion.

Its operating expenses during the 1st quarter reached P2.8 billion, 4% higher than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN's parent company, Lopez Holdings, reported that the Kapamilya network's net income grew by 120% from January to March of this year. Advertising revenues also rose by 22%.

Lopez Holdings reported P2.29 billion in net income attributable to equity holders for the 1st quarter of the year, 108% higher than the P1.1 billion in the same period in 2018.

The company attributed the jump to the good performance of its energy business, lower foreign exchange losses, as well as good earnings of ABS-CBN.

Both networks suffered lower earnings in 2018 despite some candidates pouring in cash for early campaigning. (READ: How much do you need to become senator?)

ABS-CBN's net income stood at P1.91 billion, 39.7% lower compared to 2017, while GMA reported a decline of 9% to P2.3 billion. Both networks reported lower advertising revenues last year.

GMA chairman and chief executive officer Felipe Gozon said he is confident that 2019 will be a better year financially for the network due to the elections. 

"While the network experienced slight declines in revenues in 2018, I am confident that this year will bring better financial results because of election-related revenues as well as those from our recurring advertising sales," Gozon said.

GMA is aiming to increase its revenues this year by 12%.

Political ads

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reported last Friday, May 10, that some candidates have almost breached the spending caps specified by law.

The PCIJ, using the data of media-monitoring agency Nielsen, reported that Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party spent some P463 million for political ads from February 12 to April 30.

Despite reportedly spending that much during the official campaign period, Roxas is poised to lose in the 2019 elections. He garnered over 9 million votes based on the partial and unofficial results from the Commission on Elections transparency server.

The other top spenders on ads were: 

Before the official campaign period, Go topped the list of spenders. The PCIJ reported that Go spent P422 million from January 2018 to January 2019. 

Election laws allow candidates with a political party to each spend a maximum of P3 per voter. Those without parties are allowed to spend up to P5 per registered voter.

There are almost 64 million registered voters, which means that candidates with political parties can only spend up to P190 million, while independent candidates can only dole out P318 million. – Rappler.com 

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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