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World Cup Boosts Univision Earnings in Q2

U.S. Spanish-language media conglom Univision got a strong boost from its 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage, reporting a net revenue increase of 23.2 percent to $833.7 million in its 2nd quarterly earnings report unveiled Tuesday.

Brazil-set soccer tourney netted Univision an estimated $155.5 million in ad revs. Operating profit soared 17.7 percent to $351.1 million compared to $298.3 million for the same time frame in 2013.

Univision had projected to break even given the travel, production and other expenses but higher than expected ratings drove revs up. Instead, by year’s end, the World Cup will have generated $174.3 million in total incremental revenue and a profit of nearly $20 million for the company.

Asked in Tuesday’s conference call why Univision had not tried to outbid Telemundo for the World Cup Spanish-language rights to the next two tourneys of 2018 and 2022, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Andy Hobson said Univision was “being fiscally responsible by not matching their bid.” In 2011, Fox and Telemundo agreed to shell out a record $1 billion for the broadcast rights to said dates with Fox to pay more than $400 million while Telemundo, owned by Comcast/NBC, would pay $600 million. Pact includes broadcasting rights to the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cups and other international tourneys.

Univision’s two year old sports cable network Deportes contributed to a surge of 65% in World Cup viewership on Univision over its previous tourney broadcast four years ago, posting a record-busting tally of 81 million total viewers throughout the entire tourney, said Falco.

“If you look at all our properties combined, our cumulative audience ratings are up,” said president and CEO Randy Falco in response to a query about Univision TV’s overall ratings decline of 17 percent among the 18-49 demo since the fourth quarter, which saw two primetime telenovelas underperform.

While 2nd Quarterly net revenues for Univision’s television division rose 26.2 percent to $713.9 million compared to the second quarter of the previous year, its digital net revs climbed 110.5 percent to $44.2 million in contrast to $21 million the year prior.

Univision Radio saw its 2nd Quarterly net revs plummet 15.7 percent to $75.6 million from $89.7 million in 2013.

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