Led by strong cable results as well as results from its Universal Pictures division, net profits at NBC climbed 9% to $589 million in its third-quarter period that ended September 30.
GE touts that it is NBC's fourth straight quarterly profit hike. Over the last nine months, NBC has grown 5% to $2.2 billion in profit.
NBC also credits an improvement in ad revenue for its prime-time programming over the period. Although NBC's ratings had the network remaining in fourth place, NBC, as well as other networks, has benefited from a strong 2006-2007 year scatter market. On the heels of this, NBC and other media companies with TV networks also benefited from a strong upfront market that witnessed a currency change to commercial ratings.
Revenues at NBC continue along the same lines, up slightly at 3% to $3.8 billion from $3.6 billion in the third quarter of 2006. Revenues during that period were down 9%, to 10.9 billion from $12.0 billion.
NBC's parent General Electric witnessed a 14% improvement in earnings to $5.5 billion due to strong sales on airplane engines, locomotives and other equipment.
A recent report in the Financial Times suggested that GE would be looking to sell NBC after next summer's Beijing Olympics, which could bring in over $1 billion in advertising sales. The report said NBC could fetch around $40 billion.
This isn't the first time that reports of an NBC sale have cropped up. Analysts suggest NBC could be jettisoned because of a lagging performance and an awkward fit with the rest of GE's industrial and financial businesses.
GE executives have consistently denied reports of an NBC sale.