television industry

‘A new era’: Gozon retires as CEO of GMA, Duavit Jr. takes over in 2024

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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‘A new era’: Gozon retires as CEO of GMA, Duavit  Jr. takes over in 2024

RETIRING. GMA Network CEO Felipe Gozon (second from right) retires by the end of 2023. Gilberto Duavit Jr. (second from left) takes over on January 1, 2024.

File photo

Lawyer Felipe Gozon led GMA Network for over two decades and steered the company to the top in the industry. He steps down as television audience continues to decline in the Philippines.

MANILA, Philippines – Calling it a “new era,” the Philippines’ leading broadcast company announced on Saturday, December 9, the retirement of its long-time CEO, lawyer Felipe L. Gozon, effective end of the year. 

After leading GMA Network Incorporated (GMA) for over two decades, Gozon announced his retirement during the celebration of his 84th birthday at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City on Saturday night.

Gilberto R. Duavit Jr., the network’s current president and chief operating officer, will take over as CEO effective January 1, 2024. 

Gozon, also a senior partner in Belo Gozon Elma Parel Asuncion and Lucila law firm, will remain as chairman of the board and adviser to the company.

Duavit is the eldest son of one of the founders of GMA, Gilberto M. Duavit Sr.. He joined GMA’s board of directors in 1999, and was named executive vice-president and chief operating officer in November 2000.

Duavit, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of the Philippines, was elected president of GMA in 2010. 

GMA started out as the Republic Broadcasting System (RBS). Gozon, Duavit Sr., and Menardo Jimenez “revived the struggling” RBS in 1975 by restructuring its debt, upgrading equipment, and focusing on local shows, the company said.

For decades, GMA was a distant second to the Lopez family’s ABS-CBN Corporation, the Philippines’ broadcast pioneer.

Under Gozon, however, GMA rose to become a strong competitor to ABS-CBN, and it claims to have overtaken ABS-CBN in 2011. After the Duterte administration shut down the Kapamilya network’s frequencies in May 2020, GMA lorded it over the Philippines’ other television companies. 

With its 95 television stations and 21 radio stations nationwide, GMA’s combined channels on analog and digital television reached 78 million Filipinos nationwide for a “people audience share” of nearly 60% of the population, based on Nielsen TV Audience Measurement ratings.  

Businessman Manny V. Pangilinan’s TV5 was a far second with an audience share of less than 10% as of end of 2022.

GMA’s 24 Oras is the Philippines’ leading news show, while its popular public affairs program, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, continues to maintain high ratings. 

The Kapuso network is now a multimedia conglomerate since it is also engaged in film production, music publishing and distribution, new media, among others.

It also owns 50% of Philippine Entertainment Portal Incorporated, which publishes one of the country’s leading entertainment websites, pep.ph

GMA manages many of the Philippines’ celebrities through its Sparkle GMA Artists Center, especially after the decline in ABS-CBN’s fortunes following the loss of its broadcast franchise three years ago.

ABS-CBN has since become a content provider to various platforms, including its former competitors, GMA and TV5.

Although television is still the most important medium in the Philippines, its audience has fallen as more people turn to the internet for news and entertainment.

Television as a source of news in the Philippines has declined from 66% in 2020 to 52% in 2023, according to Reuters' Digital News Report 2023.

As of the third quarter of 2023, GMA’s revenues reached P13.57 billion, a drop of 18% from the same period in 2022. Net income fell 52%, from P5.1 billion to P2.4 billion in the same period.  – Rappler.com

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.