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Univision's Earnings More Than Double

California

Sales at television networks and stations rise 21% as soccer and prime-time soap operas attract viewers.

August 05, 2004|Dawn Wotapka | Times Staff Writer

Univision Communications Inc.'s second-quarter profit more than doubled, the Los Angeles-based company said Wednesday, as advertising sales climbed.

Net income for the nation's leading Spanish-language media company was $83.7 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with $41.6 million, or 16 cents, a year earlier. Analysts expected earnings of 19 cents a share.

Univision's revenue rose 25% to $495.3 million from $395.6 million in 2003.

Revenue at Univision Radio, acquired Sept. 22, 2003, jumped 19%, while music and publishing revenue was $50.4 million, up 73% from $29.1 million a year earlier.

The company said its three networks -- Univision, Galavision and Telefutura -- delivered strong daytime and prime-time viewership, particularly from adults, during the quarter.

"Our growth can be attributed to strong quarterly performance at each of our divisions as advertisers continued to increase their commitment to building brands nationally and locally through our Spanish-language media assets," A. Jerrold Perenchio, Univision's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Univision is benefiting from growing interest among advertisers in Spanish-language media, JB Hanauer analyst David Joyce told Bloomberg News. That's boosting sales for Univision's broadcast TV networks and its TV and radio stations, he said.

"Advertisers understand that even though general market conditions are weak, they can go to where the high-growth demographic and high-growth consumer expenditure are, and that would be Spanish-language broadcasters," he said.

Joyce rates Univision shares "market outperform" and doesn't own them.

Ad sales are growing faster at Spanish-language radio stations than at their English-language rivals, Joyce said. Sales for Spanish stations probably increased about 5% during the quarter, compared with about 1% for the U.S. radio industry generally, he said.

Sales at Univision's television networks and stations increased 21% to $349.7 million as the company attracted viewers with soccer games and prime-time soap operas such as "Mariana de la Noche," the most watched prime-time Spanish-language program in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Telemundo, owned by General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal unit, is trying to gain viewers by producing its own programs, particularly soap operas, tailored for U.S. Latinos, Joyce said. The strategy produced an improvement in Telemundo's prime-time ratings in the first quarter, he said.

Univision's quarterly results were announced after the close of regular trading. Its stock fell 33 cents to $29.72 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bloomberg News was used in compiling this report.

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