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New WWE TV Show, The Rock On More PPVs Than Just Wrestlemania, WWE TV Network, McMahon's Meeting With Dana White, Would WWE Ever Go Private, More

Written by Richard Gray on Aug 4, 2011 - 11:44:50 AM

I was on the WWE investor conference call to discuss the company's second quarter earnings of 2011. Below is a recap:

Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement. He said Chairman Vince McMahon and Chief Financial Officer George Barrios would be joining him on the call.

Vince McMahon joined the call and said revenue was essentially flat and that is something they aren't proud of but given conditions, it could be a whole lot worse. He said the company has been sitting on the rights to WWE NXT and WWE Superstars domestically and waiting on the right opportunity. McMahon implied they have new clearances for the show as he said they are there now.

He said there is another one-hour live show that will premiere shortly that will air before WWE Raw.

Vince mentioned live event attendance was down about 3%.

McMahon said Money in the Bank this year was up 20%, indicating the pay-per-view revenue was on the upswing. He said the straight-to-DVD film "That's What I Am" was not successful and DVD sales are down. McMahon said "That's What I Am" was a great movie but didn't really play to their television audience. He talked about how frustrating it was to eat a project that was award-winning.

McMahon said WWE is finally rolling out the WWE TV Network. He said they have the most compelling network start-up ever. He says it's going to be a "significant" bottom line number going forward. McMahon said they are very excited about it, it's very well thought out and "has to work."

The call was handled over to George Barrios to discuss the numbers included in today's release. Barrios said a lot but he did not reveal anything that was not included in the release.

The line was then opened for questions and answers.

How much more can The Rock be involved in the next twelve months? Is there an opportunity to bring back popular retired stars?

Vince McMahon said they have multiple pay-per-views lined up where they will use The Rock, not just Wrestlemania XXVII.

McMahon side-stepped a question about UFC starting their own TV network. He said they are totally different company and that WWE is an entertainment company.

Early indications on attendance and pay-per-view sales for SummerSlam.

McMahon said they expect SummerSlam to do extremely well but discussed the success of Wrestlemania XXVII travel packages - selling out in two days. He said they didn't sell out last year for this year's show but he saw that the way travel packages sold out [for Wrestlemania XXVII] was a strong indication for the interest in next year's show.

Increase in domestic tickets for live events: George Barrios said the increase has not hurt attendance. He said the prices have gone up anywhere from 5-15% depending on the market.

How many hours of footage is in the tape library?

George Barrios said the company has around 100,000 hours of programming and it's one of the company's most undervalued assets. He said the book value of it is in the single digit millions. George said 30,000 hours have been digitized in High Definition.

Is there any price that would convince the company to go private or partner with someone?

Vince McMahon answered with one word - "no."

WWE NXT and WWE Superstars - is this a third quarter event or a fourth quarter event?

George Barrios said their goal is to maximize their production capacity. He said something would happen in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

Launch date of the WWE Network: Hasn't changed and they said in the last call that it was 12 to 18 months out. They have finalized their go-to-market strategy with the network and will begin a series of meetings.

Vince McMahon meeting with Dana White: McMahon said "absolutely not" in partnering with UFC in any way. He said there was a meeting but it was more social than anything else. McMahon reiterated UFC is a sports company.


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