The performance of NBC Universal during the second quarter had to give Comcast executives reason to smile.
With upfront amelioration by NBC and gains from the cable holdings, NBCU posted second-quarter profits of $607 million on a 5% revenue rise to $3.75 billion.
Cable networks scored a 10% increase in profits on a 7% increase in revenue, with USA, Bravo, Oxygen and CNBC cited during an earnings call with analysts on July 16.
GE vice chairman and CFO Keith Sherin on the earnings call said NBC's broadcast business had "a pretty good quarter," with revenue ahead 1% and profit 6%. Scatter advertising was up "over 20%," while the TV stations grew 25% in scatter, following a 15% advance during the first quarter.
Relative to the upfront, NBC recorded an 18% increase in dollars booked , half coming from a higher sellout ratio, the balance by higher prices.
The results figured be uplifting for Comcast. The nation's largest cable company is undergoing the regulatory process for its proposed joint venture with NBCU. The deal is expected to be closed by year-end.
Corporately, GE ended the second period with a 16% gain to $3.11 billion in earnings, its first profit improvement in nine quarters. However, revenue declined 4.3% to $37.4 billion, well below analysts' consensus of $38.4 billion, owing to lower industrial equipment sales, the sale of some industrial assets and the downsizing of GE Capital.
"GE's portfolio generated solid results across the board," said GE chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt in a statement. "Our energy and technology infrastructure businesses performed as expected, home and business solutions and NBCU turned in good revenue and earnings growth, and GE Capital delivered 93% net income growth as losses have peaked and earnings are rebounding."