NBC Falls on Winter Olympics

April 19, 2010
NBCuNEW YORK: NBC Universal ended the first quarter with more revenues but less profit than a year ago. The entertainment unit of General Electric posted $199 million in operating profit for the first quarter of 2010, down 49 percent from 1Q09. Revenues rose 10 percent to $4.3 billion, up from $3.5 billion a year ago.

Both revenues and loss were attributable to the Olympics, which generated $782 million in revenues, but drove a $194 million operating loss for the quarter. Excluding the Olympics, NBCU had $393 million in operating profit, up 1 percent on flat revenues of $3.5 million.

NBCU cable networks generated $1.2 billion in revenues, up 3 percent from 1Q09. Operating profit was up 4 percent for the group.

Combined ad sales for the broadcast and cable networks were up 15 percent from a year ago and 10 percent from the fourth quarter, GE executives said.

GE reported total revenues of $36.6 billion, down 5 percent, with earnings of $2.3 billion, down 18 percent. Earnings per share was 21.5 cents, down 19 percent, but exceeding Oppenheimer’s estimate of 16 cents. GE shares fell from a year-to-date high on Thursday of more than $19.50, to just under $19 in this morning’s trading. However, Oppenheimer raised its price target on the stock (NYSE: GE) from $20 to $23 because of the company’s cash position of $10 billion and expected free cash flow of up to $10 billion by year end.

-- Deborah D. McAdams

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