McMahon says WWE took Sting from “obscurity” to WrestleMania

WWE is holding a post-WrestleMania 31 conference call live this morning.

* Vince McMahon opens the call talking about the success of WrestleMania 31 last night. He mentions the 142 worldwide trends on Twitter and mentions the new indoor attendance record at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday night with nearly 77,000 people in attendance.

* Vince also discussed the new programming coming to the WWE Network in 2015. This includes eight brand new original series.

* WWE Network has surpassed 1.3 million subscribers following WrestleMania 31.

* George Barrios takes over the call talking about the new programming coming to the WWE Network. Barrios talks about plans for continued growth.

* Barrios said growth was assisted by the February free month with 77% converting to paid subscribers in March.

* Courtesy of WWE: “Based on the successful execution of the network’s free trial offerings, all new subscribers who register for the network in April will receive the network free in that month, including Extreme Rules live on Sunday, April 26.”

* Barrios said the outlook for 2015 will see expected year-over-year growth. He added, “WWE’s success will come from the global strength of our brands.”

Q and A session begins.

* Vince McMahon is asked about adding new shows to the WWE Network and if they are looking at reaching a broader base. McMahon said it is easy to attract talent now on this kind of platform and feels they will stay ahead of the curve.

* George Barrios said they won’t have figures for people purchasing WrestleMania 31 on traditional Pay Per View for a while.

* Barrios declined to comment on the turnover of people signing up for the free month in November adding they haven’t made the figure public.

* When asked about the total number of new series coming to the WWE Network, Barrios mentioned the $120 million being allocated for cost and testing the waters.

* Barrios was unable to provide an accurate time frame of when they expect to hit a larger goal of three to four million active subscribers.

* Regarding the pricing model for the WWE Network at $9.99, Barrios said they feel very comfortable with that and it will remain at that price right now.

* China and India were described as unique opportunities to expand WWE programming by Barrios. He mentioned Netflix expanding now to China.

* When asked if they would consider two different price points including live Pay Per View events and other special events, Barrios said $9.99 is firm right now.

* The new partnership with Tapout was discussed. Barrios said they feel they can bring great value to consumers with this new partnership.

* Barrios avoided getting into “line item” specifics with actual spending regarding talent.

* McMahon was asked about online criticism for the WrestleMania 31 build and the reaction being mostly positive. Vince said everything is about content and the quality of the content. “We have our doubters and that’s okay.” He described this is a “last minute drive” regarding WrestleMania this year and how they handle it that way at times.

* A caller asked if they have aligned any business goals or plans with cable or satellite outlets with lots of cord cutting taking place. Barrios mentioned the deal they striked up with Rogers in Canada and how they would consider that in other markets. Vince said they aren’t in favor of cord cutting and how broadcasts on USA and Syfy are very important to them.

* Barrios said they monitor streaming real-time and described the network performance as “rock solid” since the launch. He mentioned the partnership with Facebook was successful.

* Vince talked more about expanding the programming and understanding the different kinds of demographics that subscribe to the network.

* The caller asked about bringing in Sting for WrestleMania. “We took someone from obscurity and developed that character and made it important.” Vince felt they were good at taking characters like that and putting them on a big stage.

The call concludes.