We’re on our way to meet Felipe Gozon, the CEO of the Philippine Broadcasting Network GMA at the GMA head offices and studios in Quezon City, part of Metro Manila.

“Have you read GMA’s profile?” I ask Maarten. “It’s pretty impressive.”

“In what way?” Maarten asks.

“Well, they had taken over the management of the network in 2000 and in just three years, they managed to become the No. 1 network in Mega Manila. And less than 10 years later, in 2011, they reached the No. 1 position in nationwide ratings!”

“Wow,” says Maarten. “I’ll be curious to hear how they managed that!”

“More importantly,” I say, “I’ll be curious to hear how they are reinventing the network in the age of global content!”

CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling meeting Felipe Gozon at GMA Network
Maarten Schäfer, Anouk Pappers and Felipe Gozon – photo by Vic Eyatid

Teresa Pacis from Corporate Affairs comes to meet us at the entrance of the executive floor where we find Mr. Gozon waiting for us in his spacious office with a view over Manila. He greets us warmly, offering us tea and coffee before we go to sit in the lounge area.

“Welcome,” he says, with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile. “So you have travelled across the world to discover our vision and our brand! What can I do for you?”

“Well, we were reading up on GMA and the impressive achievements since 2000. How did you achieve this incredible growth?” I ask.

“There is no short answer to that,” says Mr. Gozon. “There are many elements of course. We have defined a clear set of core values that we have built upon: creativity, innovation, integrity, transparency and excellence are all part of this. And, importantly, we believe that the viewer is the boss.”

“Interesting,” I say, “so how is that implemented in practice?”

“The GMA network caters to a diverse TV audience whose preferences keep changing,” says Mr. Gozon. “We try to balance our programming and offer shows that appeal to a wide range of viewers of all ages.”

“What motivates you personally, as the head of GMA?” I ask.

“I have always been a competitive person and I don’t like to lose,” says Mr. Gozon with a little smile: “having seen our company grow by leaps and bounds in the last decade has been a huge motivator for me. And being able to share that success with our staff stimulates me to keep on striving for improvement.” 

“But television is changing,” I say, “or rather, the world around television is changing: today you can get content on demand from so many other sources. How do you see the GMA network evolving within this changing media landscape?”

“Successful brands with solid foundations and identities can withstand the rapid evolution we are witnessing today,” says Mr. Gozon. “Their growth and development as brands have seamlessly reflected the changes happening in society. I can confidently say that the GMA network will continue to move forward carrying the same brand that we have built with strong values and purpose.”

“And more generally, how do you think the television industry is going to change over the coming years?”

“I see big changes up ahead,” says Mr. Gozon. “Television will lose its key position in the entertainment spectrum as content continues to become available from different sources and on a 24/7 basis. This means television will have to reinvent itself and create new sustainable business models.”

“And what do you think these will look like?”

“Only time can tell what the television of the future will look like, but one thing is certain: we are well positioned here in Philippines. Because the US and Europe will lead the way, investing large sums but also making big mistakes. By the time we start implementing change, hopefully we can learn from those mistakes and get it right in one go. This is the advantage of being a step behind!” 

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By Anouk Pappers