Univision TV Revs Down 6%, Subdued Upfront

Univision saw television net revenue drop 6% in the fourth quarter, another sign that the ad market is struggling mightily. Spanish-language media had been looked upon as more recession-resistant than the general market.

Still, company COO Ray Rodriguez offered evidence that the company is withstanding some of the downturn better than others. On a conference call Monday, he said the company's three networks have seen upfront cancellations for the second quarter at a greater level compared to past years, but it's not "meaningfully different." Some English-language networks have reported cancellation rates at significantly higher levels than normal.

Univision has said that it will not hold a gala upfront presentation in New York this year, as it has in the past. Instead, the net has opted to hold more intimate meetings with advertisers across the country. Rodriguez also said the company will be armed with research showing that spending on Univision drives ROI at a superior level to the market at large.



"We can prove it," he said on the call, "that if you take a dollar away from English-language television and put it in Spanish-language television or Spanish-language media, the return on that dollar is increased significantly. He said when the company does its road show at the April upfront, it's something "we're definitely going to be stressing."

Univision's fourth-quarter struggles came, as with most television outlets, as a result of slowdowns in the retail and auto categories; retail is Univision's largest category for both TV and radio. A mass closing of auto dealerships nationwide has hurt the local stations, and augurs a permanent recalibration of auto advertising on the local level.

Some 60% of Univision's $389.7 million in television net revenue in the fourth quarter came from its flagship network, along with TeleFutura and cable outlet Galavision.

Overall in the October-December period, net revenue was down 7.8% to $502.1 million. Television, the networks and station group accounted for 78% of 4Q net revenue.

Univision posted a net loss of $1.99 billion in the fourth quarter.

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