GMA Network moved to lock in upfront commitments for some of its biggest volume advertisers last November(2010) — "an unusual move as upfront strategies are usually initiated by advertisers, not the broadcaster". This helped GMA secure 50% of its 2011 ad sales targets by November last year.
“They were very aggressive towards the end of the year trying to seal as many negotiations as they could by offering no rate increase for 2011,” says Venus Navalta, chairman of media agency ZenithOptimedia Philippines. “So for those who went ahead, it’s kind of good for them because GMA is on the uptrend.”
GMA responded with a swift programming revamp last year, ditching shows that had little appeal to advertisers , even if they were rating well, and put more focus on fantasy series, a core strength, in response to viewer demand.
“The dip in TV ratings last year woke us up, as we realized that we have become a bit complacent amidst stiffer competition,” Gozon says.
Gozon also expects online advertising revenues for GMA’s recently rebranded news website GMA News Online to pick up following the appointment of a specialist online ratings firm, Effective Measure, by a cross industry group of digital publishers.
The broadcaster also recently announced a joint venture between its new media subsidiary and the Manila Jockey Club to develop gaming technology across multiple platforms, as part of a move to develop new revenue streams.
The biggest brands in the Philippines tend to view the Mega Manila and national markets as equally important though despite building a stronghold in the more affluent Mega Manila area, national leadership had proved elusive to GMA.
GMA also migrated to Hong Kong satellite provider APT Satellite last year, to widen its national satellite footprint. This year, it plans to convert more of its provincial relay stations into originating stations that can produce local programs, with an eye on building up local ad sales revenues, which are ABS-CBN enjoys sole dominance.
GMA has four originating stations to date, some of which run 30-minute local news shows before the national news as well as early morning variety shows.