updated 10/19/2008 2:57:30 PM ET 2008-10-19T18:57:30

A trade paper reports that NBC Universal plans to cut $500 million in spending next year to prepare for an expected continuation of the worldwide economic slowdown.

Variety says President and CEO Jeff Zucker announced the cuts Friday in a staff memo. The reduction would equal 3 percent of the company's budget.

Variety says division heads will decide how to reduce their spending. But Zucker's memo suggested several ways, including staffing reductions and cutbacks in budgets for travel, entertainment and promotions.

Variety says the memo didn't specifically mention any layoff plans. It's unclear how many staffers might be affected by the spending drop.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

An NBC Universal spokesman didn't return a call seeking comment Saturday.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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