NBC Universal’s profit fell 6 percent to $865 million, as the General Electric (NYSE: GE) unit continued to be buttressed by its cable holdings and dragged down by local TV. The figures were reported within parent GE’s Q4 results, which plummeted 44 percent to $3.7 billion in what CEO Jeff Immelt described in an understatement as “a very tough environment.” Meanwhile, NBCU’s revenues fell 3 percent to $4.4 billion, as GE’s sales ended down 5 percent to $46.2 billion.
– The company did not cut its $1.24-a-share annual dividend, Marketwatch noted, which was expected by some investors in order to help shore up its credit ratings.
– Lopsided TV performance: During the call, Keith Sherin, GE’s CFO, said NBCU’s cable revs grew 11 percent, while operating profit was up 22 percent. Local broadcast revs were 25 down, operating profit was down in Q4 by about 55 percent. Hulu, NBCU’s joint venture with News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), was mentioned in passing by Sherin, though he only referenced its audience growth (no numbers were offered, however) and no word on revenues.