NBCU Profits Jump 38% in 4th QuarterEarnings improve as Comcast acquisition nears 1/21/2011 08:30:00 AM Eastern
NBC Universal's profit jumped 38% in the fourth quarter, the
last quarter the media conglomerate will be part of General Electric.
The acquisition of a majority stake in NBCU by cable giant
Comcast was approved earlier this week by the Federal Communications
Commission, which imposed conditions on the deal. The deal is expected to close
by Jan. 28.
Driven by its cable networks, NBCU's profit was $830
million, up from $602 million as revenues rose 12% to $4.8 billion in the
In a note to staffers, NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker noted that the
company was in "extremely good shape" as it approaches the end of a
lengthy transition period.
Zucker said "our cable networks continued to hit it out
of the park," with double-digit growth in operating profit. Among other
highlights, CNBC had a record financial performance.
"Jeff Zucker and the team had a great fourth quarter," said
GE CFO Keith Sherins during the company's earnings call with analysts. "The
results were broad based. Cable continues to deliver terrific
said cable revenues were $1.5 billion, up 15%, and profits were up 16% to $740
million fueled by "great strength in the entertainment properties."
Broadcast revenue was up 11% to $1.8 billion. "Profit was
also positive driven by a strong performance in local media, great performance
in the NFL and news, partially offset by continued investments the team's
making in primetime programming," Sherin said.
In its earnings materials, GE noted that Bravo and Oxygen
had their best years ever in both ratings and profits. At the NBC broadcast
network, GE noted that ratings were bolstered by football, but there were "no
break-out shows from fall schedule." Local ads were up double digits on strong
political spending, the company said.
"In short, a great job by all, and I want to thank each
one of you for your part in making sure we kept our focus, discipline, and
creativity under circumstances that have had their share of distractions,"
said Zucker in his memo, who will leave the company when the Comcast deal is
completed. "You helped me achieve my most important goal, which was to make
sure we handed off this company in excellent shape. I don't think we could have
For all of 2010, NBCU's profits were flat at $2.3 billion.
Revenues were up 9% to $16.9 billion.
The full text of Zucker's memo can be found below:
GE reported its fourth quarter earnings today, and as I always do, I wanted to
take the opportunity to share with you our results. As we approach the end of a
lengthy transition period and the start of a new NBC Universal under new
leadership, I am very pleased to say that the company is in extremely good
For the fourth quarter of 2010, nearly every part of the company delivered very
strong results. Revenue was up 12% to $4.8 billion, with operating profit up
38% from last year, to $830 million. Up thirty-eight percent, purely from
performance. No one-time gains, no sales of assets.
Our operating profit performance equaled the best quarterly performance since
the merger of NBC and Universal in 2004.
In short, a great job by all, and I want to thank each one of you for your part
in making sure we kept our focus, discipline, and creativity under
circumstances that have had their share of distractions. You helped me achieve
my most important goal, which was to make sure we handed off this company in
excellent shape. I don't think we could have done more.
Let me just mention a few highlights from our divisions in the fourth quarter:
As has been the case consistently for quarter after quarter, our cable networks
continued to hit it out of the park. As a group, cable operating profit posted
double-digit growth. USA was No. 1 among cable entertainment networks for the
fifth consecutive year, Bravo posted its fifth straight year of record ratings,
and Oxygen had its best year ever. MSNBC beat CNN in adults 25-54 total day
ratings for the first time ever, and CNBC turned in a record financial
performance, with an exceptional digital performance helping us get there.
At NBC, Sunday Night Football was the No. 1 show in primetime by far. NBC News
continued its long run of top-rated programs, with Today hitting 15 years in a
row without ever losing a week, and Local Media finished a great comeback year
with a superb quarter, with ratings strength at almost every one of our
Universal Pictures ended the year very strong, as well, driven by outstanding
DVD sales of Despicable Me. And our Parks & Resorts team turned in its best
quarter and best year ever, with record attendance on both coasts, behind two
new attractions: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and King Kong 360 3D.
These are just a few highlights, among many. Again, every area of the company
has much to be proud of.
Before I close, I want to say a word of thanks and congratulations to all the
members of our corporate staff functions who have been instrumental in
preparing us for the transition to a new owner. So many employees from Finance,
Legal, Human Resources, Communications, Sourcing, Real Estate, Business
Development and more have worked long and hard for many months and, as a
result, we are well prepared to hit the ground running after the close of the
deal, both operationally and functionally. Special thanks to our Chief
Financial Officer, Lynn Calpeter, who has held the finances of the company
together through all of this work, and to our General Counsel, Rick Cotton, who
has been tireless in his efforts, never more so than in the last few weeks as
he has shuttled nonstop between New York and Washington to get this deal
approved. And thanks, as well, to the hundreds of people who were called into
service during the transition.
As you know, the deal will formally close next Friday.That means this will be
my last business update and indeed my last official word to each of you as
CEO.Over the last few months, I made an effort to gather with every group of
employees across the company. Hopefully, I've had a chance to meet and thank
you personally for all you have done for this company. If I didn't get to you,
please accept my thanks now. I have been asked many times what I will
miss the most about NBC Universal. That's easy. The wonderful people of this
company. So many colleagues ... so many friends. I will miss you all.It has been
a fantastic run of almost 25 years. For me, that chapter's ending, but for all
of you it's an exciting new beginning. With Comcast, I leave you in good hands
and have no doubt that you will continue to do great things. I look forward to
following your progress.
With warm regards,