Earlier this week, Spanish Broadcasting System said its revenue fell 19% in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007 to $8.2 million. For the full year, revenues fell 14% to $24.1 million.
According to SBS Chairman and CEO Raul Alarcon Jr., the losses were due to s slump in local ad sales across the board, except for the Puerto Rico market. On the positive side, Alarcon noted that "we continued to generate industry-leading audience shares across our portfolio."
That holds out promise for the company's long-term viability, provided that it can avoid defaulting on its substantial debt. The company recently appeared on Moody's Investors Service's "Bottom Rung," a list of companies that Moody's says are most likely to default in the coming year.
Univision -- another big Spanish-language broadcaster -- also appeared on the list along with Radio One, an urban-format broadcaster, and radio groups with wider-format portfolios, such as Emmis, Citadel and Cumulus.
The news is not much better in the world of Spanish-language magazines, where ad pages fell 17.2% in the first two months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, according to a report from Media Economics Group cited by Folio: magazine.
Among the biggest losers: Through February, Meredith's Siempre Mujer saw ad pages fall 39.8%, People en Espanol fell 24.8% and Latina was down 27.6%. These declines were slightly worse on average than consumer magazines at large, where total ad pages fell about 19% in the first two months of the year.