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12 Things You Might Not Know About GMA Network

In line with Kapuso network’s 70th anniversary here are some facts that you’ll surely want to know.

GMA Network, one of the leading broadcasting companies that is known for serving with a heart, celebrates another milestone for reaching seven colorful decades.

In celebration of its anniversary, there might be things that you don’t know about the network and in recognition of its success here are some facts about the Kapuso network.

1. The largest TV Network.

It has a total of 52 stations that reaches over 80 million television viewers all over the country, making it the largest TV network in the Philippines, in terms of number and reach.

2. First Filipino TV Network with two YouTube channels that hit 10 million subscribers.

The network succeeded in its digital broadcasting after GMA Public Affairs and Entertainment YouTube channel reached the 10 million subscribers mark. This also makes them the second TV network in Southeast Asia to have reached the target following the feat of GMM Grammy Public Company Limited of Thailand.

3. GMA stands for Global Media Arts.

Before reaching its current acronym it was originally called the Greater Manila Area, as it referred to its initial coverage area. But since the network expanded its reach it was later renamed to Global Media Arts. Also, the network is formerly known as DZBB TV, Republic Broadcasting System, GMA Radio-Television Arts and GMA Rainbow Satellite Network before it was referred to as the “Kapuso Network” in reference to the outline of the company’s logo.

4. Spent billions for digitization project.

In 2015 the company announced to spend at least ₱2 to 3 billion for the rollout of its digital TV service and plans to produce dongles, instead of set-top boxes. In 2016, it spent ₱416 million for the commencement of its DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) transition project, which included the purchase of three high-powered transmitters capable for providing a wider and clearer signal to digital television boxes, antennae, and other connectivity requirements, and a fully mirrored head-end system. And in 2019 it invested ₱1 billion for the second phase of its digitization project.

5. Started as a radio station and owned by an American.

It first aired as a radio broadcast that started on March 1, 1950 and is owned by an American, former war correspondent Robert La Rue Stewart who was known as “Uncle Bob.” He later put up Republic Broadcasting System (RBS) on October 29, 1961, becoming the fifth terrestrial television station in the country. The programming was first composed of foreign programs and later produced local programs to cater to Filipinos. The first shows to be produced were ‘Uncle Bob’s Lucky Seven Club,’ a child-oriented show aired every Saturday, ‘Dance Time with Chito’, and various news programs like News at Seven.

6. Uncle Bob surrendered majority control to a triumvirate.

During the presidential term of Ferdinand Marcos, he curtailed press freedoms and other civil liberties which prompted the closure of media establishments. Also, foreign ownership of media companies was disallowed, due to this Stewart was forced to cede majority control to Gilberto Duavit Sr., a Malacañang official; Menardo Jimenez, an accountant; and Felipe Gozon, an attorney of the Stewarts.

7. Only local network to go on 24-hour non-stop broadcast.

At the turn of the millennium in 1999, the Kapuso network started its broadcasting for 24 hours straight. However, it was reduced back to its regular broadcast hours due to NTC’s (National Telecommunications Commission) regulations for affiliated free-to-air TV stations.

8. Previously used the circle 7 logo.

In the 1990s the network used the Circle 7 logo, a logo often used by television stations in the United States. It is designed in the early 1960s for the American Broadcasting Company’s and it is currently being used not only by ABC stations and affiliates but also by a number of television broadcasters around the world. Finally, in 2002 GMA featured a new logo, a rainbow-colored heart-shaped logo that is represented by a slogan “Kapuso ng Pamilyang Pilipino, Anumang Kulay ng Buhay” (“One in Heart With the Filipino family, In Whatever Colors of Life”).

9. Signed a three-year deal with Fox International Channels.

In 2012, GMA network signed a three-year contract with Walt Disney’s subsidiary company Fox International Channels which allowed locally produced shows to be aired on FOX cable channels. The said deal covered a minimum of 350 hours’ worth of programs and 25 feature films. Among the programs delivered to FOX for airing in its Philippine feed were Encantadia, Darna, Dyesebel, Super Twins, etc. In the news and public affairs shows were Wish Ko Lang, Pinoy Meets World, and Pinoy Abroad. While the films covered by the deal were My Best Friend’s Girlfriend, When I Met U, Yaya and Angelina: The Spoiled Brat Movie, Temptation Island, and José Rizal.

10. Pioneered the Filipino language newscast.

English newscasts were started since the introduction of television in the country in 1953. GMA Network News, the late-night news broadcast was the first Filipino-language newscast after it debuted six years ago as an English-language late-night show. This was later followed by IBC in 1998, ABS-CBN in 1999, RPN in 2000, NBN (now PTV) in 2001, and ABC (now TV5) in 2004.

11. First Philippine broadcaster to receive a Peabody Award.

The George Foster Peabody Awards is a distinguished recognition given to the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio, and online media. GMA network is the first-ever Philippine broadcaster program to receive such award for its Investigative Reporting in 1999 and it again won the same award in 2013 during its coverage of Supertyphoon Yolanda.

12. First VHF television network in the country in full stereo.

In 1987, it became the first VHF TV to provide a new dimension to viewers by broadcasting the network’s programs in full stereo through the GMA StereoVision. It opened the Broadway Centrum, its high-end live studio to boost its local programming and inaugurated its 777-foot tower of power located in Quezon City.

It kicked off its long anniversary celebration this 2020 by showing world-class entertainment starting from the TV adaptation of the popular 1984 Regal Films movie ‘Anak ni Waray vs. Anak ni Biday’ with Barbie Forteza,  Kate Valdez,  Snooky Serna, and  Dina Bonnevie.  It also featured the TV series ‘Love of my Life’, top-billed by  Carla Abellana,  Mikael Daez, and  Rhian Ramos; an adaptation of the Korean drama ‘Descendants of the Sun’ was headlined by Dingdong Dantes and Jennylyn Mercado; and a TV adaptation of the 1989 award-winning blockbuster movie by Regal Films,  ’Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit’ top-billed by Superstar Nora Aunor.

Recently, it introduced it’s very own high-quality and affordable Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receiver, the ‘GMA Affordabox’.

GMA Affordabox comes with a built-in multimedia player that makes it an all-around digital file access device allowing users to play compatible video files, view photos, and even listen to music using a USB drive. Another advancement of the Affordabox is its personal video recorder that allows viewers to record programs and re-watch highlights of the shows by instant or scheduled recording.

The device enables millions of Filipino households to enjoy their favorite TV shows through a digital TV viewing experience.


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