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Weak Slate Results in Universal Posting $200M Q4 Profit Decline

25 Jan, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel


A lack of new releases on DVD and Blu-ray Disc contributed to Universal Studios reporting fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2009) operating revenue of $1.2 billion, down more than $400 million from the same period in the previous year.

The studio, which includes Universal Studios Home Entertainment, is part of NBC Universal — the latter recently acquired by Comcast Corp. for $30 billion from General Electric pending regulatory approval.

Specifically, the studio sold just 12 million DVD/Blu-ray discs in the quarter compared to more than 33 million discs last year, resulting in more than a $200 million decline in filmed entertainment operating income, said GE CFO Keith Sherin Jan. 22 in a call with investors.

Top selling titles included Public Enemies and Inglourious Basterds, compared to Mamma Mia! (the highest-selling disc in 2008 after The Dark Knight), The Incredible Hulk and Wanted last year.

“That was really challenging,” Sherin said.

Overall, NBC Universal operating income declined 30%, to $602 million from $865 million last year. Revenue dropped 4% to $4.3 billion, compared to $4.4 billion.

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