Filipino TV network launched in Mideast

DUBAI — Following a tie-up with Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network, GMA Pinoy TV has officially launched its network service to the Middle East yesterday at the Fairmont Dubai, offering Filipino audience in the region with alternative programming exclusively from the Philippines.

By Criselda E. Diala

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Published: Sun 2 Apr 2006, 10:12 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:47 PM

GMA Pinoy TV will be aired round the clock over Orbit's Pinoy Plus Pay-TV entertainment package, which is expected to generate a 200 per cent hike in orbit's subscriptions from around 1.5 million Filipino expatriates residing in the region.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Joseph Jerome Francia, Office-in-Charge and Head of Operations of GMA International, said they have been looking forward to launching in the Middle East in recognition of the number of Filipinos living here.

"There is indeed a demand for Filipino programming because we thought it was an under-served market since there's only one Filipino programmer operating in the region prior to our entry," Francia said.

Before GMA Pinoy TV was launched, Filipinos in the region have access to Philippine-produced entertainment and news shows only through the Filipino Channel, which is operated by ABS-CBN Middle East.

Francia admitted that it was a long, hard road that they had to travel before they can get into the market.

"First of all, we needed to improve our programming. When we have achieved that and the results are such that we are the number one television station in the Philippines, the next stage is to bring that top-notch programming to Filipinos abroad. We couldn't be launched internationally without good programming so it has taken this time because we have to respect the process," Francia explained.

When asked if GMA 7 is considering setting up a bureau in Dubai, Francia said they are thinking of how best to serve the need of Filipino audience in the region. "We are thinking of how best to serve that need, which is to cover news events happening in the Middle East and getting those news on air both for the Philippine and international airing. But there are a lot of considerations like cost-efficiency and our partnership with Orbit and how to maximise that," Francia said.

The launching was likewise attended by GMA 7 Filipino talents like Jolina Magdangal, Jay-R, and German Moreno, as well as news presenter Ivan Mayrina, who hosts a show titled "Pinoy Abroad".

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