Univision profits soar 124%

Univision Communications Inc. reported Wednesday its third-quarter profit soared 124%, thanks to solid returns from the network’s first upfront presentation and an increasing share in the Hispanic broadcast market.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Spanish-language web reported net income of $25.1 million, compared to $11.2 million last year. Broadcast cash flow rose 15% to $41 million, compared to $35.5 million in 1996.

The Los Angeles-based company reported third-quarter revenue of $113.9 million, a 23% jump from last year’s $92.9 million.

Univision’s stock closed Wednesday at $62.87, up $3.62 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

“Our strong third-quarter results reflect Univision’s continuing progress in becoming a core advertising buy,” said Henry Cisneros, Univision’s prexy and chief operating officer in a statement. “Our audience, the U.S. Hispanic market, is growing five times as fast as the overall U.S. population.”

Company officials also noted that Univision pulled in $200 million from the web’s first upfront presentation last May. Sources say company execs only had expected between $40 million to $80 million from the New York event.

Even with the strong quarter, Univision’s growth potential is “mind boggling,” Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen told Daily Variety. “There is still a lot of room for revenue,” added Cohen, referring to possible boosts in pricing and volume.

In addition, Univision continues to gobble up a bigger piece of the Latino TV market. According to National Hispanic Television Index ratings released last week, Univision has moved up two percentage points to an 84% share, compared to competitor Telemundo Group’s 16% share.

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