Political Dollars Power Univision

By on Feb, 16 2017 with Comments 0

Univision Communications, Inc.Overall, it was a great Q4 for Univision Communications — even if political and advocacy dollars are removed from the results.

But, there’s weakness for Univision’s radio division, and it was political and advocacy dollars that kept the “Uforia” from crashing with a thud.

Total revenue for the Doral, Fla.-based Hispanic and millennial-focused multimedia company came in at $846.5 million in the final quarter of 2016, rising 15% from the same period in 2015.

Univision’s Media Networks division saw total revenue grow to $773.7 million, from $663.8 million, while Univision’s Radio segment saw tepid 1% year-over-year growth, finishing at $72.8 million.

Political/Advocacy revenue came in at $29.3 million in Q4 2016. But, some $23.3 million of those dollars are tied to its Media Networks, namely the Univision, UniMás and Galavisión television networks and Univision and UniMás O&Os. Political/advocacy dollars at Univision Radio — branded as “Uforia Radio” to sync the AM and FM stations Univision owns with its audio delivery smartphone app and online portal — came in at just $6 million. Without those dollars, Univision’s Radio arm would have suffered a 3.6% total revenue loss, to $66.8 million.

After adjusting for comparability, Univision’s consolidated total revenue improved by 8.5%, to $768.9 million. The Media Networks saw its consolidated total revenue grow by 9.8%, to $702.1 million — a clear sign that radio comprises less than 10% of Univision Communications’ total revenue.

Net income for the company, which has not yet launched its long-discussed Initial Public Offering, rose from $8.8 million to $108 million — largely thanks to the political and advocacy activity.

SPECTRUM AUCTION PAYS OFF 

Univision President/CEO Randy Falco may be celebrating “a strong finish to a very positive year,” but he has another reason to celebrate.

He revealed this morning during his company’s Q4 earnings release that Univision anticipates the receipt of approximately $376 million in proceeds from the FCC’s spectrum auction. The funds will be obtained at an undetermined point in 2017.

That’s by far the highest proceeds seen for a broadcaster yet.

Fox Television Stations anticipates receiving approximately $350 million. Sinclair Broadcast Group will pocket an estimated $313 million of gross proceeds from the National Broadband Plan Spectrum Auction.

“We achieved the highest revenue and adjusted OIBDA in the history of our company, generated nearly $219 million in net income, and reduced our net debt by $400 million while still investing approximately $160 million in strategic digital assets,” said Falco.  “As we look ahead, we are optimistic that our increasingly diverse portfolio of leading media assets will position us to perform well in a rapidly changing media landscape.”

But, questions of whether a spin-off of Univision’s radio assets will likely continue, given the poor performance of its AM and FM properties in Q4.

Advertising revenue for the Radio segment dipped 1.9%, to $67.1 million, in Q4. That’s before excluding for comparability political/advocacy advertising revenue. Once that is done, Univision Radio’s ad revenue slumped by 6.9%, to $61.1 million. This was driven by a decrease in national advertising revenue, the company said.

For the full-year of 2016, revenue improved to $3 billion, from $2.85 billion as the company swung to net income attributable to Univision and its subsidiaries of $218.9 million, compared to a net loss of $44.6 million in 2015.

About The Author: Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.

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