Univision Revs Drop 4.3%, Management Unbowed

Further evidence that a recession has settled in came as the dominant Spanish-language broadcaster revealed declining results Friday. Univision Communications reported a 5% drop in net revenue for its TV operations in the second quarter; its other sectors fell, too. The struggling auto category, as with most media companies recently, was a culprit on the TV side.

Still, COO Ray Rodriguez said on a conference call that he expects Univision to produce results the rest of the year that outperform peers. "In recessions like this in the past, what we've experienced is our revenue growth tends to go about flat, although everyone else seems to decline," he said.

Spanish-language media has often been mentioned as a robust growth engine, along with the Internet and out-of-home ad sectors, so Univision's lackluster performance is noteworthy.

The company's overall net revenue--which includes TV, radio and the Internet--fell 4.3% to $533.1 million (77% comes from TV). In the TV group, Univision operates the eponymous network and sister broadcast outlet TeleFutura, along with a slew of local stations and the Galavision cable network. It does not break out results per outlet.



Even if political dollars and two popular soccer tournaments that took place last year and helped TV advertising are split out, total company net revenues were only up .4%. Even Internet net revenues dropped 11% in the second quarter to $10.2 million--although this only accounts for 2% of revenues. Operating income before depreciation and amortization dropped 10.9% to $219.9 million.

Ratings at the flagship Univision network were impressive in the second quarter; it finished as the number 3 network among adults ages 18 to 34.

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