Earlier this morning, WWE held a conference call for its shareholders, talking about today’s report of their 3rd quarter earnings. WWE chairman Vince McMahon & WWE CFO George Barrios were on the call. Here are the highlights:
Vince McMahon portion
Vince on the 3rd quarter: “3rd quarter was about as expected, maybe better, but down from last year”
Live attendance is up 6% domestically & 17% internationally
Pay-per-view is up 13% from the last year
WWE’s social media awareness is “through the roof” and will continue to be for “quite some time”
Vince on the TV Ratings: “TV ratings are doing good”
WWE remains the #1 show on the USA Network and on Syfy for WWE RAW & Smackdown, respectively
Vince on the 3rd hour of RAW: “Adding a 3rd hour to WWE RAW is doing extremely well”
WWE Saturday Morning Slam is the “#1 show among kids at the 10 AM timeslot”
Vince confirmed the WWE Studios deal with Warner Bros. for a WWE & Scooby-Doo movie
WWE also confirmed the ABC Family Christmas movie partnership that was earlier reported
WWE Main Event ratings are up 15% from what was in the 8PM Wednesday night timeslot before the ION deal
Vince touted WWE’s new deal with Hulu Plus and the work they have done with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
WWE has renewed its partnership with the U.S. Army National Guard
WWE is excited for their partnership with Mattel during the Christmas season forthcoming
A new mobile app will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks that will be “interactive in a way that no other television show has ever been”
Vince on the WWE App: “The WWE app is doing tremendous and will only get better”
Vince on the WWE Network: “There is movement in the WWE Network in a subscription, premium, way that will be distributed by all the players and will be the most interactive network in the world”
Research that WWE has done shows that there is a “big demand for the WWE Network”
George Barrios portion
YouTube content will go from 52 hours in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 87 hours in this year’s 4th quarter
The increased number of TV hours will “not prevent them from launching the WWE Network”
Barrios touted the amount of Facebook likes and Twitter followers that WWE has, saying they have more Facebook likes than “all 32 NFL teams combined”
Ticket revenue was “flat” compared to last year
WrestleMania 29 buys were up 8% from WrestleMania 28 last year
Overall PPV sales are up 9% from the same number of PPVs last year
TV revenue was “flat” compared to last year, due to less episodes of WWE Smackdown in the quarter
Barrios on adding a 3rd hour to WWE RAW: “RAW in the 8:00 PM hour is performing better than re-runs of NCIS did for the USA Network”
There has been around 30-40 million dollars budgeted for the WWE Network
The re-release of WWE No Holds Barred is on a pace to do a profit of $300,000
In WWE’s extensive research in preparation of their WWE Network, they found out that 50 percent of homes have an “affinity for WWE”
Caller Q & A:
The 1st caller asked if the WWE Network will “cannibalize the PPV market”. Vince said it will not and they have 2 different models for the WWE Network. One with pay-per-view and one without it.
When the caller asked if the model with pay-per-view will give network subscribers pay-per-view for no extra cost, Vince said “It depends”.
The same caller asked about the TV contracts and if that would have any effect on the Network, Vince said it wouldn’t, but that the Smackdown contract “is coming up soon”.
A 2nd caller asked about the content of the WWE Network. Vince replied that different types of fans want different things, but he didn’t want to reveal too much as it could affect negotiations.
When asked about the upswing in live attendance, Vince contributed it to the “better quality of the product”.
When asked about what types of increases WWE looks to see with Hulu Plus and their new TV deals, Barrios said it was “sensitive material” because their partners “may not want that information made available”.
When asked if the full audience WWE captured in the fan survey would be needed for the network to be successful, Vince said that it would not and that their model makes a considerable amount of revenue.
When asked how much WWE would need to acquire to actually launch the network, Barrios said that they have “80 to 90 percent of their infrastructure that they need”. Barrios indicated that the remaining percentage would be for marketing of the network.
This concluded the conference call.