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Ad sales fuel profit spike at Univision

Net income climbs from $42.2 mil to $73.4 mil

Univision Communications, the dominant U.S. Spanish-language TV and radio broadcaster, reported Thursday a 74% third-quarter profit hike on higher advertising sales.

Net income increased to $73.4 million from $42.2 million a year earlier, the Los Angeles-based company said. Revenue rose 49% to $477.4 million.

Chairman-CEO Jerrold Perenchio is increasing sales by packaging radio and TV ads to give clients broader reach among Hispanic households, said David Joyce, an analyst with JB Hanauer in Miami.

“They have been developing capability to sell across platforms and develop synergy,” said Joyce, who rates the shares “market perform.”

Univision predicts fourth-quarter sales will increase by a low double-digit percentage.

Sales at Univision’s nets and stations increased 16% to $328.1 million as the company attracted viewers with soccer games and primetime telenovelas.

The company’s strength in TV stems partly from agreements that allow it to buy programs from Mexico City-based Grupo Televisa and Cisneros Group’s Venevision, Venezuela’s top network. Univision paid $155 million to Televisa and Venevision for programming in 2003.

Those companies provide about 52% of shows on the Univision net and 23% of those on TeleFutura, Univision’s second net. These inexpensive programs already are proven with Hispanic audiences.

The radio division’s revenue was $89.9 million, compared with $7.4 million a year earlier. Univision was in the radio business for only eight days of the previous quarter, following the purchase of Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. in September 2003.

Univision owns or operates 72 radio stations and 56 TV stations plus the Galavision cable network.

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