Yes, we’re getting close to that time again… GE, the parent company of NBCU, has announced surprisingly weak Q1 results with continuing income sliding 8 percent to $4.36 billion from $4.9 billion. Total revenue was still up 8 percent year-over-year to $42.2 billion, from $39.2 billion. NBC was pretty languid, with growing revenue by a modest 3 percent to $3.6 billion, while net profit rose by the same amount. Not surprisingly, GE’s financial services proved to be the major quarter killer. Ominously, for the market, the company said it was cutting its growth estimates for the year between 0-5 percent, and in pre-market trading, the bellwether is down over 9 percent, a major move for a company of its size.
— David adds: GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Imelt opened the conference call with an immediate expression of disappointment about missing its guidance. “We planned for a difficult environment in December, especially in financial services. But late in the quarter, experienced a set of massive disruptions, especially when the Bear Stearns news hit, and saw a slowdown in March. We’re not trying to create excuses and are trying to address the problems. We have a great global business and good cash flow. We’re assuming no improvement during the year.”
— “NBCU continues to deliver solid growth,” said Keith Sherin, vice chairman and CFO. Strong DVD sales from Heroes and 30 Rock, but ad spending decreased 11 percent. He touted high ratings for cable channels USA, Bravo and CNBC. Turning to Hulu, Sherin said it’s been getting good reviews and attracting viewers. Overall, he said NBCU’s digital revenue was up 5 percent in the quarter.