ABS-CBN expects its first-half profit growth to be flat, but is still on track to meet its full-year net income target.
"It's close to flat. But we are sticking to our minimum target of P1.3 billion. We are on track for P1.3 billion," ABS-CBN chief financial officer Ronaldo Valdueza said.
Lopez said the second half is going to be "significantly better" than the first half, as the network continues to improve programming.
However, the increase in operating costs has put a drag on the company's profits.
"There has been significant improvement (in profit), but because of the competitive climate, operating costs has been going up. It's no secret we've had to increase our talent fees, which has had a significant impact on our overall profitability. The reality is if we did not have to increase our costs, we would show a significant increase this year... We feel our trajectory is correct and the second half would be significantly better," Lopez said.
ABS-CBN executives said the network continues to dominate the primetime slot and its noontime show is making headway in the ratings game.
"We're very optimistic the ad community would see that if you combine the ratings of both rural and urban, we have an inordinate increase over our competitors, whether singly or combined, ABS-CBN is way ahead of them," Lopez said.
Plans for soundstage, backlot
ABS-CBN President and chief operating officer Ma. Rosario "Charo" Santos-Concio said the company is finalizing the business plan to build a soundstage and several backlot facilities.
"We took the next steps in our vision to becoming the Filipino content provider of choice. We are in the process of finalizing the business plan for the building of a soundstage and backlot facilities for our future productions and talents. These are facilities that would enable us to have better production quality while saving on time and cost of location shootings," she said, during the stockholders' meeting.
Valdueza said the company will build the soundstage and backlot in Bulacan.
"We have acquired a lot somewhere in Bulacan, it's about 15 hectares. We have some consultants working with us. Hopefully, we will be able finalize the plans soon. We are hopeful we can build at least one soundstage within the year," Valdueza said.
One soundstage is expected to cost between P150 million to P200 million. ABS-CBN is planning to build at least 10 soundstages in the next 5 years.
"About 65-75% of all the shooting is location and with the soundstages, babaligtarin namin yan. Maybe about 30% would be location (shooting) and most of the shooting would be in soundstages," Lopez said.