After getting gains from the new tax law and the spectrum auctions a year ago, Univision reported a fourth-quarter loss as revenues fell because of being dropped by Dish Network and programming costs rose.
The company said it lost $73.1 million in the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $386.7 million a year ago.
Losses from continuing operation were $40.2 million, compared to income of $390 million a year ago when the company had a gain of $167.2 from spectrum auction sales and a $243.9 million benefit from the new tax law.
Revenue fell 8.9% to $688.5 million. Advertising revenue dropped 5% to $403.2 million.
Operating income (OIBDA) for Univision’s Media Networks division fell 34% to $229 million. Revenue was down 8.9% to $616.6 million. With the networks off Dish, non-advertising revenue was down 11.4% to $279.6 million, with subscriber fee revenue down 17.7%.
Advertising revenue dropped 6.6% to $337 million, with TV ad revenue down 7.5% to $314.8 million. The company said retail, telecommunications and automotive advertising spending was down and that lower ratings would mean Univision will be giving advertisers make-good commercials in the comping quarters.
Programming costs under the Univision’s agreement with Televisa were up 24.5% to $91 million. Costs were also up because of sports programming rights fees for UEFA and more Liga MX matches.
“Univision serves a unique audience,” said Vince Sadusky, CEO of Univision. “Hispanic America is driving population and GDP growth and will continue to do so for decades. Our strategic focus on serving this core audience has recently resulted in viewership growth, as from the third to fourth quarter, we saw increases in our primetime ratings in all key demographics at a time when all other major networks experienced declines. Our ratings resurgence was fueled by a more diversified, modernized programming line-up, which has provided Univision with a powerful springboard in 2019 to offer our distribution and advertising partners even greater value. I’m grateful to all our teams across Univision for their dedication, focus and passion to serve our audience.”
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