Today, WWE held their fourth quarter 2013 conference call with their shareholders. Here are the highlights from the call:
Vince McMahon portion
* Fourth quarter earnings report were right around expectations due to investment on the Network.
* New TV deals in the UK and Thailand were three to sevent times more than their previous deals.
* TV viewership was up 17 percent to over 14 million viewers a week.
* Touted the success of WWE Total Divas on the E! Network.
* Noted recent deals with Scooby Doo, The Flintstones and Kraft.
* Expects to have a new TV deal done by at least the end of April, maybe later.
* Most PPV partners will carry Wrestlemania 30, but will work on a case-by-case basis afterwards, depending on if the Network hurts PPV sales from their partners.
George Barrios portion
* UK and Thailand TV deals are now their #1 and #3 TV deals outside of the US.
* WWE is now in discussion with other TV partners on a new TV deal in the US after their exclusivity window ended with NBC Universal.
* WWE is also undergoing negotiations for a new TV deal in India.
* Success of Total Divas has helped drive up their TV revenue.
* WWE has second highest action figure brand in the US.
* Salaries have increased 2.7 percent due to the Network.
* Touted the purchase of a new company jet.
* By 2015, WWE can double or triple their OBIDA results due to the Network and a new TV rights deal.
* WWE expects to get two to three million subscribers for the Network by the end of 2014.
* The Network is expected to launch outside of the US by the end of 2015 into the beginning of 2015.
* Due to the Network and the impending loss of PPV sales, 2014 could see lower earnings than 2013.
* Expects to see a net loss of 12 to 15 million in the first quarter of 2014 due to the launch of the Network.
* Will know more about the outlook for 2014 at their 2014 first quarter conference call in May.
* WWE will give a Network subscriber update on April 7, the day after Wrestlemania 30.
1. How many bidders do they expect for RAW & Smackdown?
* No comment, but are confident of the strength of their product.
2. What makes WWE think the Network will do well?
* Social media.
3. Ballpark figure on the payout for the Network?
* 12 million dollars.
4. Why couldn’t WWE reach an agreement with NBC Universal during their exclusivity window?
* No comment.
5. Did WWE expect to negotiate with potential new TV partners?
* They are always ready for any events and don’t have a mindset going in. They have a value for their content and are willing to talk with anyone, including NBC Universal.
6. How excited is WWE for Wrestlemania 30?
* Very excited. Wrestlemania 30 will be great.
7. Any update on CM Punk?
* Vince McMahon: “CM Punk is taking a sabbatical, let’s put it that way.”
8. Why does WWE keep making movies?
* Vince McMahon: “With our new film model, they are finally making money. We are a content company and we feel this will make us more money down the line.”
9. Will we see all the benefits of the new TV deal instantly or gradually?
* New US deal will start in the fourth quarter of 2014. The UK deal starts on January 1, 2015. The Thailand deal has already started. These deals generally have escalation clauses built in.
10. What PPV partners will carry Wrestlemania 30?
* 85 percent of the PPV partners have agreed to carry Wrestlemania 30. (No specification as to which companies.)
11. How much of WWE’s PPV business did DISH Network and DirecTV account for?
* Roughly around 35 percent.
This ended the call.