When GMA Network was renamed in 1975—after trading as the Republic Broadcasting System for 25 years—the ‘GMA’ acronym was chosen to stand for ‘Greater Manila Area’. Then, as the company’s reach broadened and it expanded into overseas markets, the meaning of those three letters changed. Today, ‘GMA’ stands for ‘Global Media Arts’, which is a true reflection of the mark it has made not just in the Philippines, but across the world. GMA Network owns a wide array of media-related businesses in everything from film production to program acquisition, as well as its television and radio networks. It is the only Filipino media organisation to take out the highly sought-after Peabody Award for ‘Excellence in Journalism’ (1999, 2009, 2012, 2013), and the Asian Television Award for ‘Best Terrestrial Station of the Year’ (2005).
Felipe Gozon is the CEO of GMA Network, a position he has held for 16 years. He also sits on the board of directors as the chairman. Throughout his time with the company, he has seen many changes across the business and across the industry as a whole. He says that it has been a challenge to maintain the organisation’s strong reputation in the marketplace, but has tackled this by taking a customer-centric approach and staying at the forefront of broadcasting trends.
“It hasn’t been easy,” he explains. “The bottom line is that we try to determine what our viewers want and then try to produce the programs that they want to see. There are so many changes that we have made over the years, and fortunately they have all contributed to our number-one market position. We are considered to be a pacesetter with all of the changes we have made to our operations.
“We try to address the requirements of Filipino expatriates abroad because they are our main customer base. In fact, some of our foreign programs are in Filipino but we also acquire foreign-produced programs that we dub in Filipino. We show them locally here in the Philippines and we also program them onto our international channels.
“Having said that, lately we have also been successful in marketing our locally produced programs in other regions such as Mexico, Canada, Africa, and different parts of Asia. Of course, we have to dub them into English or another language, which we do here in the Philippines. We also have a subsidiary called GMA Worldwide that takes care of the distribution, and that has been quite successful.”