On the Media side, we had a tremendous experience in the quarter with the Olympics. I thought the whole NBC team did a fantastic job of showing those Games and using all the different avenues we have to highlight that content. The cable business continues to be extremely strong. We are seeing pressure in the local ad market like we saw in the second quarter. And clearly the economy, as some sectors of the economy has pressure that hurt some of the national advertising like in the auto segment. But overall they’re still performing where we said they were.
It’s now standard for the big media companies to acknowledge that the ad market is down (a turnaround from the beginning of the year, when all of them insisted everything was hunky dory). The distinction here is that almost all of the big media companies have been saying that their real problems are with the local ad market, and that national ads are just fine. Now GE is saying that’s no longer true, either.
It’s true that NBC’s network unit is in generally lousy shape, so it’s possible that these conditions somehow don’t apply to its peers. But its hard to see how any of NBC’s big media competitors — particularly CBS, which is the most dependent on the ad market — won’t be worried.
So what else did GE have to say about NBC yesterday? Nothing. And, per usual, there was no follow-up from analysts on the call about GE’s media business. Because while us chattering classes love to talk about Jeff Zucker, Ben Silverman and Knight Rider, no one who owns GE actually cares about its media business.
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