NBC U Revs Down, Profits Up

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NBC Universal’s revenues plunged during the third quarter, but blame the Olympics, or the lack of them, rather than its ailing prime time schedule.

The General Electric TV and movie division’s revenues was down 26% to $3 billion during the three months ended September. No big surprise, though, because last year the company had the benefit of $930 million in extra ad sales from the Summer Olympics. That’s a bit less than the $1 billion widely estimated last year.

Profit was not crimped a bit, jumping 13% to $603 million. GE does not break out the performance of NBC or detail profitability of the Olympics, but it did say $50 million of that $65 million profit gain came from Universal Studios. The broadcast and cable unit still increased profits by $15 million.

“Network prime has been a tougher cycle and when we look at where we are so far in the fall lineup we feel like we're making progress,” General Electric CFO Keith Sherin said during a conference call to review quarterly earnings.

“In the first three weeks, we had six of 20 shows in the top 20 in the adult 18 to 49 demo,” Sherin said. (On the other hand, overall 18-49 ratings have dropped 12% so far this year.)

For the full year, Sherin estimated that profit for NBC and its O&O stations combined will be down 25%.

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