Univision narrows Q1 loss

Smaller impairment hit helps outweigh 12% revenue drop

NEW YORK -- Univision Communications reported a narrowed first-quarter loss Friday as the recession dragged down revenue 12%, but the Spanish-language media powerhouse had lower interest expense and a much smaller impairment loss.

The quarterly loss of $55.2 million compared with a loss of $166.2 million in the year-ago period. As part of it, Univision recorded a $2.1 million impairment loss for its TV unit, compared to $115.1 million for its TV and radio assets in the year-ago period.

Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization increased 3.5% to $153.8 million. Revenue declined 12% to $410.3 million.

"We continued to aggressively manage through the recessionary market conditions in the first quarter by diligently reducing costs across our business and maximizing efficiencies, while still investing in strategic opportunities that will be key to Univision's long-term success," Univision CEO Joe Uva said. "Given the current environment, we were pleased with our results and that we continued to outperform our English-language peers."

He also lauded recent multi-year retransmission agreements with distributors, "which has created an entirely new built-in revenue stream for the company."

Discussing the upfront ad market, Uva said he is pleased with feedback from Partnership Forums the company held over the last several weeks. "Our message that the U.S. Hispanic community can be a growth market for advertisers in the current environment is resonating among both new and existing clients, and the fact that the Univision Network continued to see strong audience growth in the first quarter only further underscores our unique positioning."