Univision Communications on Thursday reported higher fourth-quarter earnings and said that it anticipates receiving approximately $376 million in proceeds from the FCC spectrum auction this year.
The Spanish-language media giant, which has been planning an IPO, posted a profit of $108.0 million for the latest quarter, compared with a year-ago profit of $8.6 million.
Fourth-quarter adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), another profitability metric, rose 16.4 percent to $390.1 million, driven by a 16 percent gain in the company's media networks unit and a 15.4 percent increase in its radio division.
Quarterly revenue rose 15 percent to $846.5 million, or 8.5 percent when excluding for better comparability the political/advocacy advertising and content licensing revenue in both periods. Advertising revenue increased 7.8 percent to more than $541 million. Non-advertising revenue, including carriage fees and content licensing, rose 30.6 percent to $305 million.
Univision operates such assets as broadcast networks Univision Network and UniMas, formerly Telefutura, as well as cable channel Galavision and sports network Univision Deportes.
NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo last year reached some landmark victories to beat Univision in the demographic of 18-49 year olds. But Univision said Thursday that it finished the 2015/2016 broadcast season as the most-watched Spanish language network overall for the 24th consecutive year and also leads the overall audience season-to-date.
Said Falco: "Our fourth quarter marked a strong finish to a very positive year for Univision where we achieved the highest
revenue and adjusted OIBDA in the history of our company." He added: "Our investments to strengthen and diversify our content and portfolio of assets have helped us to build upon our position as the No. 1 network for U.S. Hispanics and significantly grow our reach."
Falco also said: "As we look ahead, we are optimistic that our increasingly diverse portfolio of leading media assets will position us to perform well in a rapidly changing media landscape."
On the earnings conference call, Falco discussed the company's changes to its programming strategy after some recent ratings disappointments. He said a January announcement that Isaac Lee will oversee content across Univision and Televisa "demonstrates the strength of our relationship with Televisa." And he said: "We have seen some good results from recent programming changes."
Univision is also continuing to invest in non-Televisa content, such as a previously announced upcoming El Chapo miniseries with Netflix.
Overall, Falco said he expects "a strong upfront" advertising sales season in May.
Read more: Univision Third-Quarter Earnings Rise