WWE held a conference call to discuss their 2013 third quarter earning results today.
Vince McMahon talked about WWE’s increase in TV right revenue due to the success of “Total Divas” and adding on “Main Event.” McMahon noted that the Summerslam PPV buyrate had a “weak showing” and that fans didn’t “buy the attraction, as PPVs are attraction events.”
PPV distribution online with the inclusion of buying PPVs via the Playstation 3 video game console did over 17,000 buys which was a 160% increase. McMahon touted the new John Cena kids clothing line and adding new TV markets in the countries of China and Japan.
There was no new update on the upcoming WWE Network, with McMahon only saying that they will continue to pursue the network via “traditional and non-traditional means.”
McMahon brought up WWE’s TV rights contracts coming up soon. McMahon compared WWE to NASCAR and said that he looks forward to discussions with NBC Universal and other potential partners. He noted that there are deals coming up in India and the UK and they are actively pursuing new deals in those markets.
In regards to WWE Studios, McMahon noted that with their new strategy, they expect to make a 13% profit down the line, but will still take impairments due to losses occurred with their old strategy.
WWE CFO George Barrios touted WWE’s digital & social media numbers being way up this quarter. In regards to why PPV buyrates being down this quarter, it was due to Summerslam performing worse than they expected. It was noted that WWE has spent $30 million on a new corporate jet, along with improvements to it. In regards to the Network, Barrios said that they feel it will be well executed via “traditional or over the top digital distribution.”
Phone lines were opened up to take questions. One caller asked if WWE feels they will get their new TV rights contracts negotiated by next April. McMahon mentioned that they have a window where NBC Universal can exclusively renegotiate with them until January 1. After that time, WWE can then negotiate with other potential partners. McMahon said he is confident WWE can get a new deal finalized within that time period.
The same caller asked if WWE would restructure should they not get new TV deals done in time. McMahon said that it was a failsafe for reducing costs and “if the worst happened, that is what we would do.”
Finally, the same caller asked about the PPV buyrates and if they were a sign that the WWE Network was becoming more important. McMahon said that PPV is an attraction-driven business. Summerslam was a “swing and a miss”, nothing more than that.
No one else had any questions, which seemed to surprise McMahon and Barrios. McMahon closed by saying that “the future looks bright” and that ended the call.