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GMA Network to push through with more channels despite FICTAP issues with having multiple channels

“So about three more digital channels. I just cannot remember the timing but some of them within the year.”

As the GMA network transitions from analog to digital free-to-air broadcast, they are set to launch more digital TV digital channels that follow the network’s own Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receiver which is the GMA Affordabox.

GMA Affordabox is the digital TV receiver that the network recently unveiled in June. It was well-received by the public and accumulated a high demand from the market for the people who claim that it is affordable and is of high-quality.

GMA Network Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon confirmed at the company’s annual stockholder’s meeting that the Kapuso network will launch one or two more digital channels this year. Gozon said it will start with ‘The Heart of Asia’ channel that would bring the latest K-drama titles and best Asianovela series to the viewers.

“That is true. In GMA, we do things gradually. The first one is ‘The Heart of Asia’ which is already being done and there is one more digital channel, and perhaps one or two more,” he said.

“So about three more digital channels. I just cannot remember the timing but some of them within the year,” he added.

The GMA Affordabox is expected to sell at P888 which is cheaper than the P1,499 TV Plus sold by ABS-CBN and won’t require monthly fees. GMA network invested $20 million to complete the company’s efforts to digitalize its operations. The company mentioned that all these state-of-the-art upgrades are all part of the network’s digitization project to offer excellent programming to the viewers here and abroad.

“We are excited to unveil more innovative offerings that will not only maintain our position as the country’s leading broadcast network but will also revolutionize the TV viewing experience in the Philippines,” Gozon said.

With GMA’s plan to launch more digital channels, people have been saying that there might be an issue with FICTAP (Federation of International Cable TV Association of the Philippines). This was one of the reasons that the ABS-CBN network was denied a franchise renewal was because FICTAP accused the network of violating their franchise by offering TV Plus to the market. 

FICTAP President Neng Tamano mentioned that ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise only allows one franchise and one channel. The network violated their franchise by selling TV Plus to the public and introducing several channels. She said that the frequency given to ABS-CBN should be free to air.

ABS-CBN network was forced to shut down when lawmakers voted 70-11 against its franchise renewal on July 10.

The people are now discussing how FICTAP will react now that the GMA network launched its own digital TV receiver “Affordabox” and is planning to launch three more digital channels within the year. People have been wondering if FICTAP will also react violently towards GMA just like how they reacted with ABS-CBN network.

The “GMA Affordabox” is the network’s 70th-anniversary offering to its viewers. The demand for the digital TV receiver has already exceeded GMA’s initial projection of 600,000 units due to its good reviews and affordability.

Chairman Gozon said that the TV receiver does not have the conditional access system so that everybody will be able to access free-to-air TV transmission along with particular features that are not available in other similar boxes such as recording, emergency warning system, multichannel and many more.

“There is now a transition from analog to digital, and many many of our people have digital TV sets ready for digital reception, so we need to have this transition where you need to put this box for an analog TV set to be able to receive digital transmission,” he said.

GMA Affordabox is available in appliance stores and online via the GMA Store on Shopee and Lazada. It is for sale in the following areas: Metro Manila, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao del Norte.

Gozon said the company is looking forward to increasing the production of the TV receiver with the surge in demand.

The device is part of the company’s compliance with the government-mandated digital television shift over the next three years. He mentioned that GMA will have its live shows back soon but on a limited basis with the strict observations of quarantine restrictions.


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