NBCU Earnings Rise on Cable Networks

Jul 11, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal’s second-quarter earnings rose slightly as a strong performance from cable networks such as USA and Bravo offset a downturn in local television stations’ advertising, parent company General Electric said today.
NBCU’s operating profit increased 1% to $909 million as the unit’s revenue rose 7% from a year earlier to $3.88 billion, or about 8% of GE’s sales.
The network is counting on its broadcast of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, which start next month, to boost current-quarter earnings. NBC Universal unveiled an Olympics broadcast schedule that will include about 3,600 hours of programming among its broadcast and cable networks, almost three times the coverage of the 2004 games in Athens.
“The Olympics are on track to generate $1 billion in advertising revenue and $700 million of GE industrial sales,” said General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt in a statement today.
USA had the best second-quarter ratings among cable networks, beating out Time Warner’s TNT in the process.
NBC Universal, along with private-equity firms Bain Capital and Blackstone Group, also agreed this week to buy Weather Channel in a transaction that’s expected to be completed by the end of the year. NBCU was reported to be willing to pay $3.5 billion for the 26-year-old network, whose owner Landmark Communications had been seeking about $5 billion.
(Edited at 2:00 p.m. ET to fix last paragraph.)


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