ABS-CBN welcomes, GMA-7 opposes PTV-4 changes
MANILA, Philippines – The country's two biggest privately-owned media groups have different reactions to the recently signed law “revitalizing” the operations of state-owned and -operated television station People’s Television Network, Inc. or PTV-4.
GMA Network, Inc. is considering filing a case to stop Republic Act No. 103901 -- which infuses P5 billion fresh capital that allows PTV-4 to engage in more diverse programming -- from being implemented.
The second biggest media group is studying the new law and will decide if “there is a legal round to invalidate that law,” GMA Chairman and CEO Atty Felipe Gozon said in a press briefing on Friday, March 22.
By privatizing the channel infused with P5 billion capital from the national government, it would be unfairly competing with private players, Gozon stressed.
While receiving subsidies from the taxes and fees paid by broadcasting institutions, the network will be competing with the same companies for the source of income providing the said funds: commercial ads and airtime.
“The basic reason for that is that it’s a government station and the money that the government approriates partly comes from us as a tax payer. If that station is allowed to compete with us, then you can easily see that it is our own money that is being used to compete with us,” said Gozon.
“Here in the TV industry we are already over crowded. As you can see Channel 5 (TV5, operated by ABC Development Corp) is losing money. So the market is not that big. Here comes another one -- subsidized by tax money! What are they trying to do?,” he added.
Gozon has publically opposed the law, calling it "unfair," when it was still a bill.
These sentiments are not shared by executives at ABS-CBN Corp, which operates the biggest media group in the country.
Rolando Valdueza, CFO at ABS-CBN Corp., said at a press briefing on Thursday, March 21, that the media firm isn’t as concerned with the upcoming changes at their state-backed rival.
"The more the merrier," he replied when asked for a comment about the upcoming changes at PTV-4.
On March 14, 2013, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law “An Act Providing for the Establishment of the People’s Television Network, Incorporated, Defining Its Powers and Functions, Providing for Its Sources of Funding and for Other Purposes.”
The additional P5 billion capital from state coffers and advertising funds will fund PTV-4's purchase of equipment, as well as build infrastructure, produce programs, purchase content, hire personnel and recruit creative staff for its operations.
To sustain these operations operations, the network will also be permitted to generate revenue by selling airtime and commercial ads. - Rappler.com