Univision 2008 TV Revenues Down 2 Percent

Network beats CBS’s average in 18-to-34s for full year

NEW YORK: The TV stations and networks in the house of Univision Communications held steady in 2008, posting a small decline in revenues and an uptick in eyeballs, but extensive write-downs drove the Spanish-language empire deep into the red.

Univision’s 64 TV stations and its Univision, Telefutura and other networks generated $1.56 billion in 2008, down around 2 percent from 2007. For the three months ending Dec. 31, 2008, Univision’s TV properties posted $389.7 million in revenues, down 6 percent from $414.4 million in 4Q07.

Univision, which also owns 72 radio stations, took a $5.4 billion pre-tax impairment charge, driving a full-year net loss of $5.1 billion on consolidated revenues of $2 billion, down around 3 percent from 2007. Net loss for 4Q08 was $2 billion on revenues of $502 million on $1.6 billion of the impairment contributed in the quarter. Net loss for 4Q07 was $201 million.

“Our fourth quarter results reflect an operating environment that was among the most difficult we have seen across most industries,” said Univision CEO Joe Uva. “Nevertheless, we continued to meet our key near-term goals of maintaining ample liquidity to operate our business, successfully negotiating favorable retransmission agreements and aggressively managing costs.”

The Univision Network’s audience numbers fared better than the mothership’s financial results. The network posted a prime-time average for the full year of 1.1 million adults 18-to-34, fourth among broadcast networks, behind Fox, NBC and ABC, but ahead of CBS. It was No. 5 in adults 18-to-49 for the year, coming in behind the Big Four.