Friday, February 15, 2019

Univision Earnings Impacted By Carriage Dispute

Univision Communications Inc. swung to a loss in the fourth quarter, hurt by a large impairment charge on its English-language digital unit and a carriage dispute with Dish Network Corp. that negatively affected the Spanish-language broadcaster’s revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The carriage dispute, which began in June and continues, is depriving the company of subscriber fees and shrinking the size of its viewership, weakening its ad-sales business.

The closely held broadcaster said that non-advertising revenue at its media networks unit, which includes subscriber fees, was $279.6 million in the fourth quarter, down 11% from $315.7 million a year earlier. Advertising revenue in that unit fell 6.6% to $337 million.

Univision also took an impairment charge on Gizmodo Media Group, its English-language digital business, of more than $120 million in 2018.

Univision purchased many of the websites in Gizmodo Media Group, including Gizmodo and Lifehacker, for $135 million in a bankruptcy auction held in 2016. It already owned The Root, an African-American news site, and a stake in The Onion, a satirical news site. It put all of those properties up for sale in July, and the process is continuing.

“These digital brands are longstanding, well-recognized sources of news, information and entertainment in their verticals that we believe can thrive as part of a company whose focus better aligns with theirs,” Univision said in a written statement.

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