NEW YORK Univision CEO Joe Uva said today that the TV ad market appears to be stabilizing, based on current scatter market spending, but noted it was anyone's guess when a full recovery might occur. "We certainly don't expect the markets to be restored in the foreseeable future," he said.
Uva made his comments during a conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings. For the period, ended June 30, Univision reported a 4 percent revenue decline to $520 million, with a net loss of $30 million. For the same period a year ago the company reported a net loss of $101 million.
For the first six months of the year, revenue was down 8 percent to $930 million, with a net loss of $83 million, versus a loss of $266 million for the first six months of 2008.
While revenue was down, company CFO Andrew Hobson noted that second-quarter results improved over the first quarter and that third quarter results are expected to be better still.
Uva reported that Univision's upfront market was still in its early stages with only a handful of deals completed so far. He said it was too early to make any reliable projections on total upfront take or pricing. But he did say that based on those early deals Univision appears to be "outpacing results" of the English-language networks per press reports that the major broadcasters dropped prices by percentages ranging from the mid- to low-single-digit range.
Categories where spending has improved recently include packaged goods, quick-service restaurants and telecommunications, Hobson reported. There is not a lot of movement in the auto category, according to Uva. "Everybody is waiting for the General Motors shoe to drop," he said. Beyond that, Uva said he is hopeful that once local dealers restock their inventories in September the category will pick up.
Generally, Uva said, advertisers have been making commitments much closer to air and print dates, making it tougher to make mid- and longer-term projections. "I don't know that that pattern will ever go back because advertisers have gotten used to managing their media spend that way," he said.
The company's TV revenues for the second quarter were basically flat at $414 million. The company said that advertising was down due to recession-related cutbacks, while retransmission consent fees from cable, telco and satellite operators were up. Uva said the company would tally about $175 million in retrans fees in 2009, but average $350 million in such fees annually in the next three to five years.
Radio revenue dropped 19 percent to $95 million due to reduced advertiser spending. Digital revenue dipped 2 percent to $10 million due largely to a decrease in display advertising, the company said.
For the first half, TV revenue was down 4 percent to $751 million due largely to advertiser cutbacks in the recession. Radio revenue slid 22 percent to $162 million and digital revenues were down 3 percent to $17.5 million.