NBC Universal to cut 2009 budget by $500 million

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NBC Universal is looking to slash about $500 million from its 2009 budget, becoming the first U.S. media giant to outline specific cuts in the face of a looming economic meltdown. According to The Wall Street Journal, the General Electric-owned unit--which counts a series of mobile multimedia efforts alongside its broadcast and cable-TV networks, local television stations and movie studio--seeks to shave about 3 percent of its budget for next year. "We are living in a time of unprecedented economic challenges," writes NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker in a company memo mailed Friday. "It has become evident that the decline in consumer confidence and spending will impact our operations."

NBC Universal executives are still determining where and how deeply the budget cuts will fall. The Zucker memo said staffing costs, promotional expenses and discretionary spending like travel will all come under the microscope. The WSJ adds that NBC Universal has not yet determined a target figure for reducing employee headcount, citing a source close to the situation. The shakeup follows just two years after the "NBCU 2.0" initiative, which proposed trimming $750 million in expenses and reducing NBC's work force by 700 people, or roughly 5 percent.

For more on the NBC Universal cuts:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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