Univision Radio soars


The Hispanic media giant had a pretty good Q4 overall, with revenues up 6.1% to 544.3 million and operating income up 10.9% to 512.8 million. But Univision Radio posted exceptional results, with revenues up 13.3%, while TV revenues, which outpaced the industry, were up only 4%. Univision Online revenues rose 16.8%.

 “We increased power ratios” was the explanation from CFO Andrew Hobson when an analyst asked how radio managed to gain double digits in a down industry, and he was singing the praises of the sales staff at Univision Radio for their performance in the past year. In its financial release, Univision cited cross-promotion of its radio stations on its TV stations for helping to build radio ratings.
Hobson concedes that out-performance of such magnitude can’t continue at Univision Radio, but the trends are still positive. He said Q1 pacings are up mid single digits for both radio and TV.

For the full year 2007, Univision reported that net revenues increased 8.4% to $2.072 billion from $1.912.0 billion in 2006, excluding 2006 FIFA World Cup estimated incremental net revenues of $113.6 million. Including World Cup incremental revenue in 2006, net revenue increased 2.3% and adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization increased 7.8% to $863.2 million in 2007 from $800.6 million in 2006.

For 2007, radio revenues rose to $429.9 million from $381.6 million. TV revenues were down slightly to $1.6 billion, sans the political ads of a year earlier and Internet revenues, though still a small component, jumped dramatically, to $46.3 million from $38.3 million.

"2007 has been a tremendous year for Univision and I’m incredibly proud of all we have achieved. From the smooth transition to new ownership, to reorganizing and refocusing our advertising sales structure, to implementing a host of initiatives to inform and educate our audience, we achieved many milestones while cementing Univision’s position as the leading Spanish language media company," said CEO Joe Uva.

RBR/TVBR observation: The complaint for years from Spanish specialists has been that advertisers haven’t been willing to pay full price for their listeners. But with Spanish stations ranked #1 over all or #1 in key demos in many major markets, the stations have been able to get their message across, gradually perhaps, that a ratings point is a ratings point, regardless of language. That discount is being whittled away and power ratios are moving to where they should be. It hasn’t been easy, but it has certainly been worth it for the Hispanic radio specialists.