Highlights from WWE’s third quarter earnings conference call courtesy of PWInsider.com.
* Vince McMahon opened the call talking about growing 5% in profits attributed to home video and PPV. This was offset by an impairment from WWE Studios, domestic television sales being off around two hours (NXT and Superstars) and licensing being down. Average attendance per event was 4,100. Television ratings remained flat (touted as good news since they didn’t decline), but PPV numbers continue to struggle.
* McMahon talked about “turning the corner” in regards to the development of the new WWE Network and that everyone could expect a big announcement shortly.
* The company has a war chest of $181 million in cash and assets.
* It was noted that NXT and Superstars would be heading to the new network.
* When asked about the launch of the WWE Network, McMahon said they are on projected schedule. When another question was asked about other networks launching (like Oprah Winfrey’s for example) and if it gave them any pause. McMahon said Oprah’s network is a failure because she isn’t doing what she does best. He talked about understanding what the audience wants and how they will give that to them with a variety of shows.
* When asked about the decline in toy sales, it was noted that the action figure market has been hit hard in the last year. McMahon said they were not happy with the initial results in the partnership with Mattel.
* In regards to why they continue to pump out new films under WWE Studios despite them not being a huge success, McMahon said they are adjusting strategy with the studio and seemed to hint they could be backing off from it soon.
* Success in Mexico recently and overseas markets was mentioned.
* When a question was asked about a “buzz” being created back in July around Money in the Bank that seemed to settle back down, McMahon seemed confused by the question and felt the company still has a buzz around it. When asked how long it would take to get creative back on track leading to increased revenue, McMahon said he has been doing this for “50 years” and remains just as optimistic today as he ever did.
* It was revealed that THQ will be launching a Facebook-based WWE game.
* The new partnership with YouTube is mentioned. McMahon said they feel there is more of a demand for contact now than ever before.
* WWE’s video library was brought up noting they have around 100,000 hours with 30,000 hours digitized so far. Those 30,000 hours will be used for the initial launch of the network and will continue to digitize more.
* When asked about the Monday Night Raw contract with NBC Universal on the USA Network, it was revealed the deal runs through October 2014.