Good News: NBCU 3Q Profits Up 10%

Jeffery Immelt of GEGeneral Electric said Friday that despite a loss for the Olympics, NBC Universal profits for the third quarter still climbed into double digits for the first time in three years. And even with the early negative returns, NBCU still expects to post a small profit from the Beijing Games when all revenues come in. 

In 2006, the company initially reported a $70 million loss on the Winter Games for the quarter when they took place, but said at the time that the Italian-held Games would be "slightly profitable" when all was said and done.

Over the past three months--starting in July and covering the Beijing Games in August and NBC premiere week in September--NBCU's performance accounted for an 8% revenue gain to $4.1 billion compared to a year ago. That figure comes after the $1 billion in Olympic revenues is stripped out.



NBCU did not detail the quarter's loss on the Games, but said that even with the hit, profit was up 10% to $645 million. That topped the 9% profit hike in the quarter a year ago.

The NBCU-owned local TV stations continue to struggle, but GE indicated that almost all of the remainder of the NBCU assets were performing strongly. Cable--which includes entertainment networks, such as USA, and information outlets, such as CNBC--showed a 24% profit increase, the company said.

"Cable continues to deliver great results," said GE CFO Keith Sherin on a conference call to discuss GE third-quarter results. Overall, GE revenues were up 11% to $47.2 billion, while profits fell 12% to $4.5 billion.

CNBC, which has chronicled the struggles of companies like GE during the economic meltdown, has seen its ratings rise in the process.

As GE bobs and weaves to weather the downturn, CEO Jeff Immelt said NBCU will be a help. "We still see pockets of strength in infrastructure and media," he said.

Infrastructure includes business interests in areas like aviation, energy and oil and gas.

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