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  • Olympics Blame for NBC Profit Drag


    NBC's Today show set in Turin. (ATR) 
    (ATR) Revenue from the Turin Olympics was not enough to immediately offset the costs of covering the Games by U.S. rights holder NBC.

    According to first-quarter results from NBC parent GE, the Games added $684 million in revenue. But with $96 million in costs, the Olympics coverage dragged down overall NBC profits by about 8%. Without the Olympics, profits would have risen around 5%.

    However, payments due NBC from affiliates are forecast to turn the Olympics into the black by the end of the year.

    "The Olympics performed as expected even though in the quarter it was a loss," said chief financial officer Keith Sherin during a GE conference call.

    CEO Jeff Immelt told reporters he expects "a whole other story" with the 2008 Olympics.

    "The big magilla here is Beijing," he said.

    "We have got a funnel of about $1.2 billion. I expect us to get maybe $800 million to $1 billion out of that."

    "I think it is going to be highly beneficial for both NBC and the rest the
    company," Immelt said.

    The Olympics don't take all the blame for NBC results. Analysts say the network's overall programming isn't selling as well as its rivals. And despite the slippage at NBC, overall GE earnings for the first quarter were up 9%, in line with forecasts.

    NBC is a rights holder for the Olympics through 2012. GE is a worldwide Olympics sponsor through the same period.

    Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only.