WWE News: 5/3 Vince McMahon conference call - WWE Network delay explanation, timeline for upcoming announcing distributors


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WWE News: 5/3 Vince McMahon conference call - WWE Network delay explanation, timeline for upcoming announcing distributors
May 3, 2012 - 10:00 AM


Vince McMahon hosted a conference call pertaining to the first quarter financial report that was released on May 3, 2012. The following are the highlights of the call.

-Once the legalities were out of the way, Vince McMahon took over and had positive things to say about the live events numbers. He spoke about expanding into new markets such as Abu Dhabi and Russia.

-Vince said television ratings are holding up very well. He said their social media numbers are extraordinary. He said people think they are cutting edge and doing it better than everyone else. "I suppose we are, but we've only scratched the surface," McMahon said. He also touted their relationship with Youtube.

-Vince said they are continuing with their WWE Network launch plans. He mentioned they are making key hires. He said the negotiations continue with the carriers. He said that is going very well.

-McMahon touted the new WWE Studios model and then turned things over to CFO George Barrios, who ran through the financial presentation. Once Barrios finished his presentation, they opened up the lines for phone calls.

-Vince was asked what went right with WrestleMania 28. He said it was executed better. He said using The Rock helped them spotlight their own stars. He also praised the Triple H vs. Undertaker match. "It was much better executed than in years past," McMahon said.

-A caller noted that the timeline for the launch of the cable network seems to be slower than expected. He asked what's holding things up. Vince said they are continuing to develop new strategies. He said they have the old strategy and new strategy and they're trying to determine which one looks best. He claimed the hold up is on their end, not on the end of the cable and satellite distributors.

-Vince said they want to own 100 percent of the network. "Control is extremely important and what goes on the network and the lack of restrictions for us is extremely important," McMahon said. "Our model is one in which will give us a lot more flexibility, which is extremely important to us, and that's one of the differences we're looking at."

-Vince was asked about the timeline and the announcement of distribution partners. Vince said he expects three months, maybe even less.

-Vince was asked about profitability numbers this year. Vince said they are looking at profitability numbers over a couple of years.

-The caller asked how many subscribers they need. Barrios jumped in and said they weren't going to answer questions like that because they are still looking at several models.

-A caller asked about their content library and how much as been digitized. Barrios said they have about 100,000 hours in the library and they have digitized roughly 30,000 hours.

-The caller asked whether the company would ever consider a stock buyback program. Barrios said they came to the conclusion that they want to focus on dividend policy. "Right now we don't really see buyback as part of a return to capital strategy," Barrios said.

-Another caller asked about the Youtube agreement. Barrios said they previously received a cut of the advertising revenue. He said Youtube announced that they are paying for exclusive content. Barrios said they get a licensing fee and a cut of the upside advertising.

-Barrios said WWE Superstars and WWE NXT are still monetized "pretty well overseas."

-This concluded the conference call.

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