TelevisaUnivision Earnings Flattened By Spending On ViX Streaming Service

Wade Davis
Wade Davis (Image credit: ©DARIO ACOSTA)

 TelevisaUnivision, the Spanish-language TV giant amalgamated earlier this year, reported flat earnings as it spent to build its Vix streaming service.

CEO Wade Davis did not disclose subscriber or revenue numbers for ViX, nor did he specify how much money the company is losing in streaming.

TelevisaUnivision has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars to deliver the largest Spanish language streaming service the world has ever seen,” Davis said on the company's earnings call Thursday.

“Related to this launch, we saw a 4% decline in EBITDA for the quarter,” Davis said. “With ViX Plus in the market we now have both the free and paid tiers of our service live. I feel great about how the service is working overall and I am very proud of the fact that the growth and profitability of our core business has funded our massive investment to launch ViX & ViX Plus with minimal impact to our overall profitability.”

Davis said that the company continues to expect that its streaming business will be profitable by the end of next year, its first full year of operation.

TelevisaUnivision third quarter net income was $33.6 million, up slightly from $33.5 million a year ago. Revenue rose 5% on a proforma basis to $1.152 billion.

Ad revenues were up 6% to $725.2 million  and subscription and licensing revenues rose 8% to $399.5 million.

In the U.S., ad revenues were up 5% to $463.4 million, with national sales up 8% and local sales up 1%.

The sales increase reflected a strong 2021-22 upfront. Scatter volume was in line with last year’s record level, though price premiums have come down, remaining at or above the English language market, Davis said. 

TelevisaUnivision’s ad sales team has focused on attracting new clients and advanced capabilities,

“Current pacing of new client activations puts us on track for a record year,” Davis said, adding that Advanced Marketing Solutions revenue was up more than 50%, fueled by ViX, where revenue doubled.

“ViX is activating new advertisers to the platform, who in turn add linear to their mix,” Davis said. At the same time,  ViX is commanding “significant pricing premiums to linear, even as other ad supported streamers are reducing price to drive volume in this expanding market.”

Davis also noted that Univision saw some ratings softness during the second quarter that got worse in July and August because the network had a series of major soccer tournaments the year earlier. 

“We completely remixed our primetime lineup on Univision and we relaunched Galavisión as a pure-play comedy channel, filling a white space in the Spanish language market,” Davis said.

“By September the actions we took delivered a 13% ratings increase relative to the prior three months. This momentum has carried into October and we are optimistic for the remainder of Q4,” he said. ■

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.