7/27 WWE Conference Call: Vince McMahon discusses the second quarter financial report

Vince McMahon and members of senior management served as the hosts of a conference call pertaining to the 2017 second quarter financial report that was released on July 27. The following are the highlights of the call. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

-The call is hosted by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, WWE Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios, and Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson, and and WWE Investor Relations Michael Weitz. Weitz read through the legalities and turned the call over to Vince.

-Vince spoke positively about the quarterly report. He also brought up the Mae Young Classic tournament. He credited Paul Levesque with his work on the tournament as well as the cruiserweights. Vince said many of the quarter-hours they see reflect their female talent and spoke about how they can grow the female audience and admitted it’s something they didn’t do well in the past.

-Barrios read through the financial presentation. Wilson checked in and spoke about the production of content for the network and labeled the 205 Live show as popular. She also mentioned that the Bellas’ Youtube page has topped 750,000 subscribers, an increase of 50 percent from the previous quarter, and spoke about developing a snapchat show.

-Barrios projected 1.54 million as the paid subscriber count for the next quarter (plus or minus within two percent).

-They opened up the phones for callers. A caller asked whether the network numbers are in line with their expectations. Barrios said it’s generally in line, but they don’t get too caught up either way when it comes to one quarter.

-The caller asked about the increased in sponsorship revenue. Barrios said they don’t report those numbers. Wilson spoke about the effort to educate potential partners about the brand and the family friendly nature of the product. She said the market is not as educated when it comes to that as they had hoped. She said they are a TV-PG show and that helps because most shows don’t carry that label.

-The caller said he’s looking forward to watching the Mae Young Classic. “You and a lot of people,” Barrios replied.

-The next caller asked about the localization in various markets. Barrios spoke about their one-hour show in India, and he recalled Vince saying they intend to do more. Barrios said they are planning to do one in the Middle East. “It’s been a real big win for us,” Barrios said.

-The caller asked what levers the company still has to accelerate growth for the network. Barrios mentioned content, the Raw and Smackdown shows, and being smarter when it comes to current and past subscribers.

-The next caller brought up the Raw and Smackdown television rights and the possibility of moving the shows to a digital platform such as Facebook. He also asked about the drivers of network revenue growth including the possibility of raising prices. Barrios said the monetization of the video content is generally the best way to grow revenue. He said Raw and Smackdown being licensed around the world is their biggest revenue stream.

-As for the platforms, Barrios spoke about what they look at when it comes to them. He said eventually he believes a digital player will become a bigger deal, but he didn’t put a timeframe on it.

-Barrios addressed the network related question about growing revenue and mentioned content and time as potential keys. Wilson also mentioned globalization and personalization. She said if you know a user is a fan of a certain talent, how do you deliver information to that person about a certain talent.

-The next caller asked about the WWE UK brand and whether they are closer to a weekly television show or a touring event. The second question was about a sponsorship deal with Lagardère Sports. Barrios spoke about localization of the product regarding the UK brand. He also cited Vince in terms of saying they will “continue to play around with it.” Wilson said they wouldn’t get into specifics regarding Lagardère Sports, but she said it was a natural fit in terms of global.

-A caller asked about original content on the network and the cost. Barrios said the numbers have been relatively stable. He said some hours are more expensive to produce than others. He said that on a full year basis, it’s been around the same amount since they launched.

-The caller mentioned the importance of WrestleMania because that’s when they attract the most eyeballs. He also mentioned the free signups around that time of the year. Barrios said they don’t get into specifics, but he said that promotional period is a great tool for them.

-The caller asked if WWE is getting more calls about consolidating. Barrios said he wouldn’t say more or less. He recalled saying a couple quarters back that they are open for business.

-The next caller asked about the new revenue streams such as the Bella Twins’ Youtube channel and SnapChat and how they are monetized. He said they have predominantly been revenue sharing, but they didn’t want to comment specifically.

-The caller mentioned they use the word sponsorship rather than advertising. Wilson said the terms can be interchangeable, but they debated how they want to label it.

-The caller asked about the gaming and whether it’s a revenue share. Barrios said it’s a fundamental licensing deal. Wilson mentioned that the TapMania game is a licensing deal.

-The next caller asked about the cash they have on hand and whether that will go to localizing or elsewhere. Barrios spoke about localization and expanding their production capacity.

-A caller congratulated them on the quarter and then asked about the turn in network subscriber count in the second quarter. Barrios said it feels like an eternity, but it’s only been three years that they’ve been doing the network. He spoke about WrestleMania’s impact. In regards to a question about 2018, Barrios said they are not giving guidance on next year yet.

-The next caller asked about the company making progress in China via the streaming of Raw and Smackdown and other factors. He mentioned they are only doing one live event per year there. He asked about the appetite for the product in China. Barrios said they didn’t want to get into specific countries, but it is an early developing market for them and a “long term play for us.”

-With no further calls, Weitz wrapped up the call.



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Readers Comments (1)

  1. “-A caller asked about original content on the network and the cost. Barrios said the numbers have been relatively stable. He said some hours are more expensive to produce than others. He said that on a full year basis, it’s been around the same amount since they launched.”

    Would love to know what that price range is. If you’re a producer, and have an idea for a WWE Network show, what is that hour worth to them? If it’s a range, then what the range is. Or the median value.

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