Joining a growing list of content-focused companies bracing for a downturn due to the roiling US and global economies, NBCU plans to trim $500mln from next year’s budget, according to several weekend reports. "We are living in a time of unprecedented economic challenges," wrote NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker in a widely cited company memo. "It has become evident that the decline in consumer confidence and spending will impact our operations." NBCU recently delivered stellar 3Q results powered largely by cable properties such as USA and Bravo, although GE CFO Keith Sherin did express concern about declining ad revenue for NBC. The disappointing ad story is also playing out elsewhere, even infiltrating cable. CBS recently slashed its operating profit forecast in the face of falling ad rev, and Viacom lowered its 3Q outlook, citing a decrease of approx 3% in domestic ad rev while intl ad rev grew approx 8%. Even News Corp chmn/CEO Rupert Murdoch recently lamented a weakened ad market amid the economic turmoil.

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