NBCU Profits Rise in Third Quarter

Hard-charging cable business helps offset local station softness

Despite taking a loss on the Olympics for the quarter, NBC Universal saw a 10% bump in third-quarter profit, according to parent company General Electric’s third quarter earnings announcement on Friday.

Net income for the division grew year-over-year from $589 million to $645 million for the quarter.

A big driver of the profits -- as expected -- was NBC Universal’s strong cable division, led by Bravo and top-rated basic cable outlet USA Network jumping 20%.

Also as expected, GE cited a softening market in local media, with station business down $40 million quarter-over-quarter.

The 2008 Summer Olympics brought in more than $1 billion in revenues and a lot of much-needed attention to the broadcast network. But GE says the company ended up writing a loss on the event for the quarter, though it is expected overall the Beijing Games will end up being profitable.

Overall, GE’s numbers hit the downward-revised projections, with earnings at 45 cents a share.