Univision’s recent changes in its ad sales operation follow a quarter that was “more challenging than expected,” CFO Frank Lopez-Balboa told the privately held company’s investors today.
The Spanish language broadcaster has seen weakness in sales to auto, restaurant, and food companies, as well as in big markets including Los Angeles and Houston.
“When you see that it just affects the entire business,” Lopez-Balboa says. “We expect, and hope, for things to rebound but it’s just general market weakness out there.”
Also affecting comparisons: Univision saw $66 million last year from the Copa America Centenario soccer tournament.
At the moment, media networks are pacing up by a low single digit percentage, he says, helped by “robust” growth in digital and increases in national TV but with declines in TV and radio stations. As a result, the operation may show Q3 numbers flat with last year.
The company’s subscriptions are “down slightly” from the March quarter, the CFO says.
He adds that Univision received $376 million from the FCC auction of broadcast spectrum, where station owners relinquished some of their air rights in return for some of the proceeds. The company plans to use most of the cash to reduce debt.
Univision reported Q2 net income of $106.1 million, up 42.0% vs the period last year which included a $1.5 million impairment charge for some program rights, a $16.3 million loss to pay off debt, and $5.5 million loss on investments. Revenues of $764.9 million were down 4.4%.
CEO Randy Falco kicked off the call saying that Univision is “very focused on continuing to improve the financial profile of the company while also driving operational improvements.”