Univision First-Quarter Earnings Fall as Dish Dispute Hits Revenue

Univision Communications CEO Vincent Sadusky - H 2018
Courtesy of Univision Communications

The Spanish-language media giant, led by CEO Vince Sadusky, reports its latest financials.

Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications on Thursday reported lower first-quarter earnings amid lower revenue, including from a carriage dispute with Dish Network, which it settled late in the quarter.

Univision, led by CEO Vincent Sadusky, reported a first-quarter profit of $24.3 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $47.4 million.

Quarterly adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization, another profitability metric, dropped 19.6 percent to $204.3 million.

First-quarter revenue from continuing operations declined 8.2 percent to $666.2 million, with core advertising revenue down 8 percent to $606.2 million. Networks unit advertising revenue fell 4.8 percent to $287.0 million, "primarily due to declines in network advertising revenue partially offset by growth in our local television and digital advertising revenues," the company said. "Among other factors, the lack of carriage on Dish had an unfavorable impact on our network advertising revenues."

Non-advertising revenue, including carriage fees and content licensing, fell 12.4 percent to $273.6 million in the latest period. Again, the Dish dispute affected the latest quarterly figure.

"Our reprioritization on our core assets drove sequential ratings growth in the first quarter, where the Univision Network extended its season-to-date ratings lead among adults 18-49 to double digits over our nearest competitor in primetime," said Sadusky. "This represents the second consecutive quarter of sequential primetime ratings growth without Dish carriage. With our carriage dispute resolved and increased ratings, we are looking forward to showcasing Univision’s exciting new programming slate during this Upfront season.”

Univision last year cut jobs, scrapped plans for an initial public offering and replaced its CFO. The firm recently announced that private equity firm Great Hill Partners will buy Univision's digital media group Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion for an undisclosed sum.

The sale price was not disclosed. Univision originally acquired the former Gawker Media publications for $135 million in August 2016, a deal that was seen as a bargain at the time but would be considered less so today.

Twitter, looking to expand the audience for its video business, recently struck a deal with Univision to offer Spanish-language sports, news and entertainment programming in the U.S.