Cable, Prime-Time Fuel Strong NBCU Results

While NBC Universal continues to look to improve its marquee broadcast network programming, other parts of the company continue to be strong.

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.

Next story loading loading..