NBC Universal to cut 3 percent of 2009 budget: report

An NBC Universal logo is pictured at the NBC Universal Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 21, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - NBC Universal, the broadcasting unit of General Electric Co, plans to cut $500 million from next year’s budget, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

NBC Universal said the cuts will amount to 3 percent of its 2009 budget, according to the report in the newspapers electronic edition.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented economic challenges,” Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s chief executive, wrote in a company memo, the newspaper said. “It has become evident that the decline in consumer confidence and spending will impact our operations.”

Zucker’s memo said the focus will be on cutting promotional expenses, discretionary spending such as travel and staffing costs. No target has been set for reducing the company’s headcount, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the situation.

NBC Universal was not immediately available to comment.

Reporting by Jessica Hall; Editing by Ben Tan