WWE held their second quarter 2014 conference call with shareholders on Thursday morning. Here are the highlights from the call:
Vince McMahon portion
* Mentioned that attendance, TV ratings and Network subscribers are up from the prior quarter.
* Mentioned the worldwide roll-out of the WWE Network, noting that the UK will get the Network in October.
* Touted WWE’s new TV & Network deal with Rogers Communications in Canada.
* Mentioned WWE has developed plans to increase their outlook for 2015, including at 7 percent decrease in staffing.
George Barrios portion
* Noted that the Second quarter results beat their projections.
* Average user of the WWE Network has it on 2.5 devices and accesses the Network at least once per week.
* Mentioned the five-point expansion plan they have for the WWE Network that is featured in their press release.
* Touted the new deal with Rogers, noting that the WWE Network will be a pay TV channel on Rogers’ system and will be available to other systems in Canada.
* Noted that Canada will get the same WWE Network content that the US does.
* Noted the different countries overseas that will get the WWE Network in August, then the ones who will get it in October.
* Mentioned that WWE plans to increase their third party advertising of the WWE Network.
* Touted 2 new shows coming to the WWE Network, the Monday Night War and WWE Rivalries.
* Noted that the WWE Network will launch on some Smart TVs & blu-ray players later in 2014 and also add a “Resume Play” feature.
1. Will the new pricing directives help grow the WWE Network month-to-month?
* McMahon said they are learning as they grow and there are many aspects to growing the WWE Network.
2. Why did they decide to go global early on with the WWE Network?
* McMahon said that they did the English version of the WWE Network first because it allows them to go worldwide faster. They may add language-specific version at some point, but it will be the US version for now.
3. What about the 128,000 churn in subscriptions for the WWE Network?
* Barrios said that any subscription business has churn, its part of managing the business. Renewal churn has yet to start, the churn this time was due to credit/debit cards not having sufficent funds when WWE tried to charge them.
4. How will they save the $30 million loss?
* Barrios said they brought in a lot of people at the launch of the WWE Network, so there was inefficency. Its now more streamlined.
5. Did the churn in subscriptions happen after Wrestlemania 30?
* Barrios gave a vague response to the question.
6. How will WWE plan to get people to renew to the Network in September when the six-month committment expires?
* Barrios said they will try and drive awareness to the Network.
7. When does WWE see people subscribe the most?
* Barrios said when there are PPVs.
8. Why did WWE decide to make the Network a Pay TV channel in Canada?
* McMahon said Rogers made them an offer they couldn’t turn down and he doesn’t know if WWE will do this format anywhere else in the world.
9. Does the outlook WWE has for business in 2015 based off the assumption that there will be no PPV revenue?
* McMahon said it is.
10. Is WWE concerned that subscribers will stop doing the six-month committment for the WWE Network and just go month-to-month occasionally?
* McMahon said they will learn as they go and there is a possibility that there may be new pricing options.
11. Is WWE still targeting 1 million domestic subscriptions for the WWE Network?
* McMahon said they would be very happy if that transpired.
12. Does Rogers Communications have the ability to embed advertising into the WWE Network stream?
* Barrios said they are working on it and it will eventually be built in.
13. What is the status of the TV rights deal in India?
* Barrios said it is being finalized now and they have agreed to terms, but won’t comment on its value right now.
14. How many TV rights deals overseas are coming due?
* Barrios said they don’t comment on that.
15. Will Rogers subscriptions be counted with the overall WWE Network subscription total?
* Barrios said it will.
16. How many of the new countries that will be getting the WWE Network soon did not have access to PPVs before?
* Barrios said a lot of them.
That ended the conference call.