Thursday, July 9, 2009

Zucker says "We have seen a bottom"

Zucker Says Marketplace Has Reached Bottom

NBCU Chief says local station business showing signs of improvement

By Ben Grossman -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/9/2009

NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker said Thursday that while the overall marketplace is still challenged, he thinks it may have bottomed out.

“It’s still quite uncertain and we don’t really see the full recovery we are all hoping for,” he said. “It’s still tough out there, but I think we have seen a bottom.”

Zucker added that while the overall marketplace remains very challenged, he is seeing some improvement in the station business.

“Our local television stations seem to be improving,” Zucker told CNBC’s Erin Burnett in an interview conducted in Sun Valley, Idaho, though he did not offer any specifics.

Zucker also predicted no major deals in the media space through the end of the year.

“I think this is a year about getting your house in order. I think we’ll see nothing in the media space for the rest of the year.”

Zucker also acknowledged with the upfront marketplace normally done by July 4, this year’s delayed dealings show the conversations with buyers, “are much more difficult this year.”

“I think the key word is flexibility. Both sides want flexibility and we’ll just have to see who gives,” he said.

He added that while NBC U is making money on the web, the revenues [for the media business] are “not where we expected to be today.”

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