Univision profits take off

Univision Communications Inc. has reported its second-quarter profit soared 77% and revenue jumped 25%, thanks to station acquisitions and improved advertising revenue share.

For the second quarter ended June 30, the Los Angeles-based Spanish-language broadcaster reported net income of $28 million, compared with $16 million for the same period last year.

For the period, operating income (before depreciation and amortization) improved 13% to $45 million. Operating income trailed the pace of revenue; as a result, license fees paid to the company’s programming partners, Mexico’s Televisa and Venezuela’s Venevision, increased in 1997 from 9.8% to 13% of net revenue.

Univision reported second-quarter revenue of $122 million, compared to $98 million the previous year. Revenue improved in part due to the acquisition of the Galavision cable network in July 1996 and KCSO Sacramento last March.

“Our strong second-quarter results demonstrate the continued progress we’re making toward our goal of becoming a core media buy for advertisers and closing the gap between Univision’s audience share and its share of advertising revenue,” said George Blank, Univision’s exec VP and chief financial officer.

Analysts say Univision’s second- quarter results were a bit better than expected.

“There is just incredible dynamics in the business right now,” said Jessica Reif, an analyst with Merrill Lynch, referring to Univision’s Spanish-language TV growth versus general market broadcasters.

According to a Merrill Lynch report, same-station sales improved 21% and Univision’s primetime share of U.S. Hispanic adults 18-49 moved up to 53% from 44%. The report predicts Univision’s operating cash flow will improve 25% for the year in 1997.

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