Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications, which earlier this year put itself up for sale, on Wednesday reported higher third-quarter earnings from continuing operations amid higher revenue, driven by a gain in subscriber fee revenue that was helped by higher pricing and special circumstances, and lower charges and impairment losses.
Univision posted earnings of $77.4 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $83.7 million. Focusing on earnings from continuing operations the latest figure compared with a year-ago profit of $12.4 million, up 524 percent. The latest figure included restructuring, severance and related charges of $11.0 million, compared with $54.9 million in the year-ago period, and a non-cash impairment loss of $2.3 million, compared with $19.7 million.
Quarterly adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), another profitability metric, jumped 11.3 percent to $257.0 million.
Third-quarter revenue rose 8.5 percent to $681.4 million, with core revenue up 2.6 percent to $675.1 million, including a 9.7 percent increase at the media networks unit. Networks unit advertising revenue climbed 2.1 percent to $322.4 million, “primarily due to higher digital advertising revenue.”
Media networks unit non-advertising revenue, including carriage fees and content licensing, rose 19.4 percent to $293.8 million in the latest period driven by a 24 percent gain in subscriber fee revenue. “In addition to higher rates partially offset by lower subscribers, the increase in subscriber fee revenue in 2019 benefitted from an estimated revenue adjustment from a contractual obligation and the lapse of a distributor’s carriage agreement that resulted in lower revenue in 2018,” the company said. “Content licensing and other revenue was $37.2 million in 2019 compared to $39.8 million in the same prior period, a decrease of $2.6 million.”
Univision this year had a carriage dispute with Dish Network, which it settled late in the first quarter.
Quarterly direct operating expenses related to programming, excluding variable program license fees, decreased 1.3 percent to $140.4 million due to decreases in entertainment programming costs, driven by “content now produced under the Televisa program license agreement, which was previously produced by the company. That was partially offset by increases in sports programming costs primarily related to Gold Cup and news programming.
“Univision delivered a strong quarter as we continue to execute on our strategy of being the most consumed media portfolio and the most effective marketing partner dedicated to the high-growth U.S. Hispanic consumer,” said Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky. “We will continue to invest in our Spanish-language business, which this quarter contributed to growth in both revenue and adjusted OIBDA.”
He added: “With a robust primetime slate, the majority of primetime soccer viewership, and strong national and local news, Univision’s audience is consistently competitive with the top English-language broadcast networks and includes a higher concentration of millennial viewers.”