NBC Universal CEO: Tough Times Ahead

Jeff Immelt of GEProfits at NBC Universal fell 6% in the fourth quarter, according to earnings released Friday by parent company General Electric.

The unit--which encompasses Universal Studios, the NBC broadcast network and its online properties, along with cable channels like Bravo--posted a profit of $865 million, down from $923 million year-over-year.

For the entire year of 2008, however, profit was up 1% to $3.1 billion.

NBCU revenue for the quarter was also down to $4.4 billion, while full-year revenue rose 10% to $16.9 billion.

In the most general terms, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt signaled tough times ahead.

"We expect 2009 to be extremely difficult," Immelt said. "We have taken strong actions to prepare the company, including strengthening cash flow and liquidity; managing costs; taking restructuring charges; intensifying risk mitigation; accelerating cycle of management reviews; and protecting revenue."



Impacted greatly by the global financial crisis, parent GE fared even worse. Profit dropped 44% to $3.7 billion in the fourth quarter, and 22% to $17.4 billion for 2008.

Still, Immelt sounded resolute on Friday. "In a very tough environment, we delivered fourth-quarter business results in line with expectations we provided in December," he said. "We grew Infrastructure and Media by 3% in the quarter and 10% for the year."

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