NBC Universal's revenues up for the year, down for the quarter

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate NBC Universal?s revenues for the year ended 31 December 2005, increased by 14 per cent to $14.7 billion, and profit increased by 21 per cent to $3.1 billion.

However fourth-quarter segment profit dropped by seven per cent to $801 million, while revenue slipped by three per cent to $4.19 billion year-over-year.

NBC has been struggling on the ratings front which has had a bad effect on ad sales. CPMs came in down four to six per cent and total dollars dropped nearly $1 billion from the previous year's upfront. Shows that it banked on like The Apprentice Martha Stewart did not deliver. It will air the Winter Olympics next month which should help boost ratings.

NBC's parent General Electric posted an 11 per cent revenue gain to $149.7 billion, and profit was up 20 percent to $23.4 billion. NBC Universal?s highlights for the year included the $500 million in box office receipts for King Kong; the deal with iTunes for downloads of a slate of shows; the strong 18 to 49 performance for My Name is Earl; and improved ratings at Telemundo, SCI FI and USA.

NBC Universal accounts for about nine per cent of General Electric's sales and 13 per cent of its profits. Though there is a question mark among some industry observers as to whether General Electric needs to have a media unit at all, now may not be a good time to explore a spin off as an option. Since the company is not in a very healthy state General Electric may not get a good price for it, reports indicate.

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