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GMA to roll out digital TV device in June

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GMA Network, Inc. will be rolling out its digital television device in June, according to GMA Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon.

The company targets to sell at least one million units this year, Mr. Gozon told reporters on the sidelines of the annual stockholders’ meeting held in Quezon City.

Mr. Gozon said the company has invested more than P700 million for the development of the digital TV device. He said the digital TV device, which will convert analog transmission into digital, is being manufactured in China.

However, the GMA chairman admitted there is no monetization model yet for digital TV.

Hindi alam, di alam ng lahat how to monetize (We don’t know, everyone doesn’t know how to monetize it). It’s a very new technology. It depends,” he said.

Mr. Gozon said the company has partnered with a dealer for the distribution of the devices, but declined to disclose details since an agreement has yet to be signed.

The media company completed the first phase of its digital TV transmission project in December 2017. The digital TV signals for GMA and GMA News TV are currently available in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, and parts of Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac.

Mr. Gozon said it is planning to expand the signal’s coverage to key areas in Luzon and Visayas before the month ends, and in key areas in Mindanao by June.

In 2015, rival ABS-CBN Corp. launched the TVplus box, as part of its digital terrestrial television (DTT) business. The Lopez-led media giant said it sold 4.3 million TVplus boxes in 2017, and aims to reach six million by the end of 2018.

For the first quarter of 2018, GMA reported its net income attributable to equity holders of the parent company dropped 50% to P419.4 million. Revenues declined 13% to P3.27 billion “due to challenging market condition, in particular, the contraction in TV spending of major advertisers.” — Denise A. Valdez