WWE held a conference call with investors to discuss their 2013 First Quarter Earnings on Thursday morning. Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement. He handed over the call to Vince McMahon.
Vince said they had mixed results this quarter and went over the results. Rather than recapping the numbers, everything is available in the release and I’ve found it’s much clearer to check them out for yourself.
Vince put over the fact TV ratings are up for both Raw and Smackdown. He said while not in this quarter, Wrestlemania 29 was very successful and they will reap the rewards for months and years to come. He put over new deals with Yahoo and pay-per-view on Xbox. He shifted to WWE Studios where he mentioned “Dead Man Down” and the success of “The Call.” He said Facebook and Twitter followers are up 73%.
McMahon put over seven new names appearing on Wrestlemania in attempt build new stars to add to their roster. He said they’re making progress with the WWE Network and put over the new WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Vince handed the call over to Chief Financial Officer George Barrios.
Barrios went through the numbers like only he can.
Live events in Turkey and Qatar drew poorly, bringing down the first quarter international live attendance and sales. Shows in The U.A.E. did much better.
It was noted that WWE lost money this quarter from the WWE Studios production “Dead Man Down,” which received a 4.7 million impairment. The total loss for the studios division was $5 million but this was expected as they were changing the model. “Dead Man Down” did not perform as strong as they had hoped. “The Call” did well and WWE will profit $6 million from it, however, they have not yet received those earnings as their model benefits from profit-sharing that will come in at a later date.
Higher PPV revenue was “more than offset” due to increased production costs, including guest talent, which is detailed on page eight of the presentation.
The call went to a question and answer session.
- A caller was concerned about international decline and Barrios told them not to focus too much on Turkey and Qatar. While the shows did do less than expected, they understand the international concern. Barrios pointed to new staff additions and the restructuring of the company’s efforts overseas with new partners. They will not be backing off international tours while they restructure as international tours are always profitable. Barrios mentioned WWE is returning to The U.A.E. in the third quarter.
- George Barrios reiterated what was said in February to a caller they are going to get out of prognosticating a timeline for the WWE Network. He said by the end of 2015, the Network could be a major driver for the company.
- Barrios refused to comment on the “commercial terms” of the deal with Yahoo. It won’t be reflected until the third quarter.
- Vince McMahon said the new “Total Divas” show on E! is directed to the company’s female demographic. He said it was easy for them to distribute their content on a network geared towards women. Vince put over the company’s flexibility with their content while broadening their footprint back to the WWE Network.
- Barrios said “WWE Legend’s House” is still part of their WWE Network programming grid. There are not plans as of right now to distribute it elsewhere.
Michael Weitz closed the call as there were no further questions.