WWE held their annual shareholder meeting on July 16th and some of the quotes and notes are now becoming public. CEO Vince McMahon addressed a myriad of topics including a possible 2020 return to Saudi Arabia, building new stars, declining television ratings and dealing with COVID-19 while trying to run a business.
Here's what Mr. McMahon had to say:
Declining Television Ratings
"We have a 30-plus year track record of creating compelling characters and engaging a variety of audiences, and we obviously remain confident we can continue that with our collective ability, even in the most challenging environments with no live audience. The media echo system obviously has changed. We change with it. Our engagement metrics across platforms are understandably and obviously, however, the importance of linear programming is paramount in all of our businesses, we consistently have seen year-over-year increases in a variety of digital metrics and engagement. And positive trends have continued, even during COVID. Conversely, TV viewership trends have been negatively impacted by COVID, obviously, and the lack of a live audience. We are still nonetheless the number-one television show on the USA Network and consistently the number-one broadcast show on Fridays among key demos. We expect a combination of valuable promotional inventory from our TV partners with the return of sports events programming. And a deep roster of charismatic talent will have a positive impact on viewership over the long-term."
Building New Stars
"Sure, I mean you want to continue to build stars no matter what time. It is so, as Paul just mentioned about NXT talent. He has done an extraordinary job of creating new stars, and as they continue to evolve, they’ll continue to come up to RAW and SmackDown. So there’s this influence of new superstars coming into both RAW and SmackDown, and in addition to that, the ways that we now promote talent in a more effective way, with digital and social media, as opposed to the normal way. We do not have a live audience and of course that to us is paramount. They’re like the third performer in the ring, in terms of our interaction with our audience. So nonetheless it is a good time to continue with the digital and social imprint and this land grab that we have, which is substantial. We continue that, and again new stars coming up."
Possibly Returning To Saudi Arabia In 2020
“Oh, that’s a possibility. Obviously, Saudi has been going through what we in America have been going through. As far as COVID’S concerned. Right now, I think they’re doing a little bit better than we are, in the United States, considerably better. So there’s a possibility that we’ll will still get a show in before the end of the year, as was scheduled. But we’re not certain because, you know, who can be certain about what COVID-19 is going to do.”
Backup Plans In Case Florida Shuts Down WWE Tapings
"Let me just say there's always a 'B-Plan'. I don't want to say right now exactly what that would be, but yes there is a 'B-Plan'.
(Credit to Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics for the quotes)
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