WWE News: 5/2 Vince McMahon conference call coverage: WWE Network timeline, strong Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber pay-per-view numbers

May 2, 2013 - 10:00 AM

Vince McMahon and members of senior management served as the hosts of a conference call pertaining to the 2013 first quarter report that was released on May 2, 2013. The following are the highlights of the call.

-The call is hosted by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, WWE CFO George Barrios, and WWE Investor Relations Michael Weitz.

-Weitz opened the call and then turned it over to Vince McMahon, who said they had "mixed results" in the first quarter. He noted that the live events and pay-per-view buys were up. He said the television ratings are strong and pointed to increases in Raw and Smackdown.

-Vince called WrestleMania "a huge success." He said a lot of emphasis was placed on WrestleMania 29 and he believes it will reap rewards for weeks, months, and years to come.

-Vince said they had seven new talents appear at WrestleMania 29 and said it's important to build new stars.

-"As far as the network is concerned, we are continuing to build on that as far as a subscription model," McMahon said. Vince turned the call over to Barrios, who read through the quarterly report presentation.

-Barrios noted that buys for the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber pay-per-views were up 17 percent compared to the same events last year. He also stated that there was a five percent increase in the average revenue per buy due to the higher price charged for the HD pay-per-view feed that many cable and satellite providers charge.

-WWE generated a loss of $5 million in the quarter. The movie Dead Man Down was a bomb, but Vince noted the success of The Call earlier in the conference call. Barrios said it generated $5.7 million profit on just a $1 million investment.

-In an interesting note, the higher pay-per-view revenue was "more than offset by increased production costs, including guest talent," according to the eighth page of the presentation.

-Barrios said that a pay version of the WWE Network could attract between two million and four million subscribers.

-They opened the lines for questions. The first caller asked for more details on the international numbers declining. Barrios noted that they recently brought in a new executive to lead their international division and noted that they've made other changes. He noted that their international events are always profitable. He noted that Qatar and Turkey didn't perform as well as they expected. He said they still intend to do 60 to 70 international events per year.

-The caller asked for an update on the WWE Network. Barrios recalled saying that they are out of prognostication business. He said they have the content in place and are negotiating with providers, including a couple of international providers. Despite saying they would not give a timeline for the WWE Network, "by the end of 2015" was listed as a potential timeline.

-Barrios said the Yahoo deal will start in the third quarter. He declined to say how that affects what they do with Youtube.

-The caller mentioned the new "Total Diva" show for E! Vince McMahon said the show appeals to women on a network that appeals to women. Vince said it's an advantage to be able to have shows on other network and it points back to WWE, which helps the network.

-Barrios said their plan as of right now is to put the "Legends House" show on the WWE Network.

-With no additional calls, Weitz closed out the conference call.

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