Univision Earnings Fall on Dish Dispute, World Cup Move to Rival Network

Univision Los Angeles Headquarters
Mike Nelson/Epa/Shutterstock

Univision Los Angeles Headquarters

Spanish-language media giant Univision Communications on Thursday posted lower third-quarter earnings as a carriage dispute with Dish Network, the fact that rival Telemundo aired the soccer World Cup and weaker ratings were a drag on the company's financials.

The company also cited a step-up in the rate it pays Mexican TV giant Televisa under a long-term content deal.

"Third-quarter financial results were impacted by headwinds including our dispute with Dish, the World Cup’s impact on advertising, lower ratings and the 2018 Televisa program licensing agreement rate increase," said CEO Vince Sadusky, who earlier this year took over from Randy Falco. "Longer term, our refocused mission is gaining momentum evidenced by Univision being on pace to win the November sweeps in Spanish language even without carriage on Dish."

Sadusky has promised a "singular focus on our core business and mission." On Wednesday, he said: "Our teams are rededicated to the company’s core mission of serving Hispanic America and with many structural and organizational changes now in place, I am optimistic about our strategy going forward. We have the number one Spanish-language network, the number one Spanish-language sports network, and many of our local TV and radio stations are number one in local news and entertainment, English or Spanish. We have a great base to build from."

The company this summer tapped Morgan Stanley to explore the possible sale of its former Gawker assets, which include the Gizmodo Media Group and The Onion. Univision has also cut jobs, scrapped plans for an initial public offering and replaced its CFO.

The company on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $12.4 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $109.6 million. Quarterly adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization, another profitability metric, fell 33.7 percent to $231 million.

Third-quarter revenue dropped 17.3 percent to $628.2 million, with advertising revenue down 16.6 percent to $378.7 million. Non-advertising revenue, including carriage fees and content licensing, fell 18.3 percent to $249.5 million. 

Dish Network last week said it lost 341,000 net pay TV subscribers in the third quarter, citing a carriage dispute with Univision and increased competition. It said subscriber momentum was "negatively impacted by Univision’s removal of certain of its channels from our Dish TV and Sling TV programming lineup."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.