A Tale of Two Conglomerates
Only two companies control much of the Philippine media landscape, which means most Filipinos get their news and information from just these two.They are media conglomerates ABS-CBN Corporation and GMA Network Incorporated which—based on audience share, reach, and advertising revenue—are the Philippines’ most dominant media companies.This is why there’s a saying Filipinos are either Kapamilya or Kapuso: Kapamilya, slogan of ABS-CBN, meaning member of the family, and Kapuso, slogan of GMA Network, meaning “one at heart.”
Their free-to-air channels—Kapamilya’s ABS-CBN 2 and Sports + Action and Kapuso’s GMA 7 and GMA News TV—have cornered 80.72 percent of the Filipino viewing public, according to Nielsen’s TV Audience Measurement from Jan. to Aug. 2016. They also have the biggest audience share on radio: 24.9 percent for ABS-CBN’s DZMM and 22.3 percent for GMA’s DZBB, accounting for almost half of the listening public, based on Nielsen's Radio Audience Measurement from Jan. to Aug. 2016. Their online platforms are both in the top 10 of Alexa, a site that measures web traffic, with abs-cbn.com at number six and gmanetwork.com at number 10. They are in almost every Filipino home, with the widest reach across the country’s 7,107 islands, extending to the 11.5 million Filipinos overseas.
GMA Network Incorporated, owned by the Gozon, Jimenez, and Duavit families, has 88 television stations across the archipelago as of December 2015 with its signal reaching almost 98 percent of the country’s television-owning households in urban areas, based on the 2015 Nielsen Television Establishment Survey.
They also reach millions of Filipinos living abroad through their international channels that are available via cable, direct-to-home and online through internet protocol television (IPTV). One the other hand, the ABS-CBN Corporation, owned by the Lopez family, has 80 free-to-air television stations all over the country, eight cable channels, and international channels using direct-to-home satellite service, cable television channels and IPTV. Their flagship TV station, ABS-CBN 2, reaches an estimated 97 percent of all households with television in the Philippines, based on the latest data released by the station.
The Kapamilya Network has 16 FM radio stations and four AM radio stations competing against the Kapuso Network’s 19 FM radio stations and four AM radio stations all over the country. It is no wonder that they get the lion’s share of the market: 79.44 percent market share for just the two conglomerates, meaning the rest of all media that have two or more outlets have to compete with the remaining 17.05 percent market share.
The biggest come-on of the two major networks are their soap operas, whose characters have become part of the Filipino family and psyche. The 2013 Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey found that 81 percent of Filipinos watch TV while the 2015 Philippine Trust Index says that TV is the most used and most trusted source of political information. Their television personalities have become household names, with consequent power and influence. They are popular enough to become political contenders, with one even going as far as being elected to the second highest post in the land.
They are the two giants in the Philippine media landscape, casting a massive shadow on the Filipinos’ everyday lives.