WWE hosted a conference call with investors on Thursday morning to discuss the company’s 2013 fourth quarter earnings and year-end results. You can go over them at this link. Pay-per-view buyrate data for the quarter is broken down at this link. Representing WWE on the call was Vince McMahon, George Barrios and Michael Weitz. I was on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com and compiled the following notes:
We’re introduced to the Webcast portion of the presentation. I’m on the audio call, not the Webcast but they’re just going through the slides posted on the corporate WWE website. Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement.
Vince McMahon wished everyone a good morning. He said their results are in line with expectations and said they are down as the company continues to invest. McMahon said live event attendance increased 2%, their weekly TV audience is up 14,000,000 viewers and their social media followers are up 87%. Vince talked about the new content deal with BSkyB in the United Kingdom and Thailand. He said both deals are better than what they were in the past, three and seven times more than what they were. These are now the number one and number three TV agreements outside the United States.
Vince brought up Total Divas and the new toy product in the construction line they have high hopes for. He mentioned new animated film content with the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo. McMahon put over the WWE Performance Center and partnerships with blue chip companies such as Kraft and Post cereal.
Regarding domestic television negotiations, Vince confirmed the company’s exclusive negotiation period with NBCUniversal has expired and they’re out in the marketplace for the first time in a long time. He expects negotiations to be completed by the end of April, maybe a little later. Vince said their deal in India is coming up and they are looking to increase licensing fees.
Vince said the WWE Network goes live on Monday and put over the content and pay-per-views. He said majority of providers have agreed to carry Wrestlemania and will do other shows on a month-by-month basis.
George Barrios took over the call and gave his presentation. The call was then handed over to a Q&A session with investors.
How many bidders do they have for domestic TV rights? George Barrios wouldn’t disclose that information. He said they were optimistic considering that all of their shows are up for re-negotiation at the same time for the first time ever.
Barrios said WWE has closely monitored the social media reaction to the WWE Network and it’s been very positive. He wouldn’t given a target number for expected WWE Network subscribers by Wrestlemania XXX but said they would feel good ending the year with one million subscribers.
I was briefly disconnected but Barrios confirmed they’re still talking with NBCU regarding domestic television rights.
Vince McMahon said CM Punk is taking a sabbatical. He preceded the answer by saying they’re really excited about Wrestlemania XXX. We have a story with the full quote at this link.
One investor wants to know why they’re continuing the movies. Vince McMahon said they have a third business model and this one is working and making money for them.
George Barrios said that most of their current pay-per-view providers have agreed to carry Wrestlemania XXX. He said they won’t go into specifics but they have 85% of US households covered.
The call was then ended.