GMA First Vice-President for Program Management Jose Mari Abacan revealed that they have always wanted to create a movie channel for the Filipino audience in light of the launch of the I Heart Movies digital channel.
In an interview, Abacan said, “Parang ever since we wanted to have a certain channel na parang one-stop-shop lang na movie channel.
“Parang iniisip ko gawa kaya kami ng mga movie selection naman na medyo mas personal doon sa mga taong nagkakagusto ng mga ganyan.”
Abacan added that the film selection for the channel is still a working progress, and they aim to listen to the Filipino audience.
“Gusto kong pakinggan din kung ano yung sasabihin ng mga manonood. And then, we balance it; we work on it, it’s a working progress every day.
“The audience is boss pa din. Kahit anong channel pa tong patatakbuhin namin just like GMA.”
Abacan also said that they align their programming with GMA Network, but they specialize in films.
“We are coming in as a network as a GMA-powered company na basically kung papaano kami mag programming sa GMA. We take it a little bit further, and we specialize in programming for movies.”
Then, Abacan highlighted their selections coming from a wide array of both local and international movie outlets.
“Yung ibang mga Tagalized na movies na napapanood niyo, mas madalas nyong mapapanood sa iHeart Movies.
“Yes, we have some materials coming from Warner Brothers, we have Disney, we have Columbia, we have Paramount, yung mga ganyan, and some of the other movies, like coming from Hallmark.
“We also have materials that are coming from different Asian studios. Kasa na din dun sa mix ng mga programming namin, ang Viva, Regal, of course, GMA Films.”
As for their library, Abacan said that they currently have enough for the channel. But, he wants to explore a worldwide selection of films.
“Yung mga gusto kong i-explore yung iba pang mga movies that are available in the whole wide world, that is the reason why I go around the market to check.
“For the library of movies, okay na yung mayroon tayo, and it is still growing.”
Finally, Abacan said that they are not competing with streaming giants. He then said that they want to provide the Filipino free movie viewing amid the pandemic.
“I am not competing with them. It is just at this point in time, especially during the time of the pandemic. I would/ like to give naman my audience something for free, in our own little way.”
I Heart Movies launched this April 5, 2021. Filipino viewers can now catch a vast selection of movies on Channel 5 in GMA Affordabox and GMA Now. They also have plans of expanding to other digital boxes in the future.