GMA NETWORK, Inc. will start operating a new station in the Ilocos region next week and another in Bicol come August in a bid to expand its audience reach, the broadcaster said on Friday.
The two new "originating stations", facilities which can produce live programming, will be added to the existing four stations already located in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo and Dagupan.
"First of the two is GMA Ilocos, which will go on air on June 18," the statement read. "GMA Ilocos will be seen via Channel 5 in Ilocos Norte and via Channel 48 in Ilocos Sur and parts of Abra, servicing an estimated total of 208,110 households."
"GMA Naga is currently being seen via Channel 7 but beginning August, GMA Bicol will be seen in other areas of Legazpi, Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon via GMA TV Channel 12, reaching out to an estimated total of 520,178 households," the statement added.
In the same statement, GMA chief executive Felipe L. Gozon said the new investments are expected to cement the network's "nationwide dominance."
"The launches of GMA Ilocos and Bicol stations are just part of the network's efforts to further strengthen its nationwide dominance. With these stations, we are determined to prove to our viewers why we are considered Number 1 all over the country," Mr. Gozon claimed.
GMA's net income fell by 27% to P388 million in the first quarter from yearago levels on the back of higher operational expenses.
Shares of GMA slid by 2.0% to P10 apiece on Friday. -- Cliff Harvey C. Venzon