WWE Conference Call Recap – WWE Network Format Announced But No Launch Date Available

Vince McMahon and WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios hosted a conference call on Thursday morning with investors to discuss the company’s 2012 quarter three earnings. I was on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Below are the highlights:

Michael Weitz, from investors relations, opened the call by reading a prepared statement which included well wishes to everyone on the east coast.

Vince McMahon said the quarter was about where they expected it to be, maybe a little better. He discussed numbers being down but blamed it on home video and licensing being off, including the canceled WWE All-Stars video game. Vince put over pay-per-view buys being up and social media being “through the roof.” He said the engagement they have with their audience will keep social media “through the roof.” McMahon put over live event attendance being up and said television ratings are good for both Raw on the USA Network and Smackdown on SyFy as their respective network’s top shows. He detailed the two and half additional hours of television and said the third hour of Raw is doing “extremely well.”

Vince detailed the kid’s show Saturday Morning Slam and WWE Main Event. He went into the WWE Studios projects including the new Scooby-Doo film and ABC Family film starring The Miz. He talked about the company’s breast health awareness campaign with Susan G. Komen. He said they have extended their deal with the National Guard and talked about their new partnership distributed the Rolling Stones pay-per-view, which opens them to an older audience. He said Mattel is very happy with WWE sales. Vince said their mobile App is revolutionary and what they are going to be doing with it in the next three weeks is going to be interactive with their programming in something that’s never been done before. He said it’s had 2.5 million downloads in the last 90 days.

Vince made the biggest announcement of the day buy announcing the WWE Network will be a premium subscription model and will be distributed by all the major players. Vince said it will be the most interactive network in the world.

Vince then handed over the call to George Barrios who went over the results. You can read everything he went over at this link.

Barrios said that he doesn’t believe it’s in the best interests of their shareholders at this time to discuss potential WWE Network launch dates. The call was then handed over for questions:

What thinking has been done to mitigate any possible cannibalization from the WWE Network of pay-per-view buys or other existing revenue streams?

Vince says the network would not cannibalize pay-per-view sales. They’ve got two models for the WWE Network, one that includes pay-per-view and one that does not. Regardless, the network will be an add-on. Vince said what is good for WWE is good for their current TV deals and said Smackdown’s contract with SyFy is coming up for negotiation first.

Vince acknowledged that different portions of their fan base want different things from the network. He said this is why we will see a blended amount of content featured on the WWE Network but would not go into specifics.

How much additional spending will need to happen for the WWE Network to launch?

George Barrios said 80-90% of the infrastructure they need for the network has been completed and the next variable will be the launch date which they are not ready to talk about.

The Q&A was rather limited with specifics of financials I didn’t feel were of interest to our readers.

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  • HazMatt23

    I noticed you said it would be like HBO and Showtime. I know both of those have multiple channels with different genres offered on different channels. Did you get the impression that WWE network be something like that or just one channel?

    • Richard Gray

      No, nothing like that. I'm just explaining the model that the WWE Network will be a channel in which you will have to pay a monthly fee to have access too.

  • Bigdaddychuck

    Richard did you just laugh when he said the 3rd hour of raw is doing well? Did you ask any questions?

  • http://www.twitter.com/DefyTalk Kris Hardy

    So…. why did no one call out Vince on his lie that the third hour of Raw is doing “extremely well.” If I was an investor, I'd bring that into question immediately and question what his definition of "extremely well" is.

  • William Shatner

    Can't wait for them to run reruns of Attitude Era shows that'll do twice the ratings of their current shows.

  • darius

    They were proud of having better ratings than reruns of ncis!That s hilarious,vince!