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Viacom, NBC Cut Media Jobs

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A full 7% of the Viacom, Inc. workforce -- 850 jobs -- is to be terminated by the media conglomerate. And 500 more media industry workers' jobs will be cut at NBC Universal, the media wing of General Electric Company (GE - Free Report) , amounting to 3% of that company's workforce. This comes at a time of slowing box office sales for some film studio businesses, not to mention a pending Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike.

Who says the entertainment industry is recession-proof? While these hundreds of jobs lost do not match the thousands and tens of thousands being lost in other industries amid the broad U.S. economic downturn, they do illustrate that the economy is worsening for just about all facets of the American workforce -- even those formerly considered "safe" and far removed from the mortgage-led credit crisis that got this downhill ball rolling.

Analysts have been dormant for the past month on earnings estimate revisions for Viacom -- which owns entertainment mainstays such as MTV, Paramount, DreamWorks and BET -- and, in fact, the Zacks consensus estimate for the December quarter has actually gone up 10% over the past 90 days -- 90 cents to 99 cents.

Do these layoffs signify unforeseen difficulties with the media giant, or is this simply the latest necessary step taken by a company duly keeping its house in order? We shall keep an eye on where analyst revisions go from here. Viacom, Inc. is currently a Zacks Rank #3 ("hold") stock.

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