By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Vince McMahon and members of senior management served as the hosts of a conference call pertaining to the 2018 third quarter financial report that was released on October 25, 2018. The following are the highlights of the call. Refresh the page for the latest updates.
-The call was hosted by WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, Co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, and and WWE Investor Relations Michael Weitz. Weitz read through the legalities and turned the call over to Vince.
-Vince spoke about increasing content and engaging the audience. He touted Miz & Mrs., the Mae Young Classic, and the Mixed Match Challenge. He also boasted about WWE Smackdown celebrating 1,000 episodes. He added that they are looking forward to WWE Evolution and WWE Crown Jewel.
-Barrios and Wilson read through the financial report.
-Wilson said WWE Evolution will play to a sold out crowd.
-Barrios mentioned WWE Crown Jewel. He simply said that as mentioned in the earnings release, “This was a difficult decision.”
-Weitz opened the line for phone calls.
-The first caller asked Vince about Saudi Arabia and his thought process of going forward with Crown Jewel. Vince said they wouldn’t talk a lot about it. He said it’s s sensitive subject and they had said all they wanted to say.
Powell’s POV: Are you kidding me? I’m stunned that he didn’t at least offer a summary of their statement. Instead, he came off defensive and guarded. I guess it would be too awkward to say they pay us a ton of money and we’re not giving it up.
-Vince addressed live event numbers dropping. He said he didn’t want to say the live event presentation was antiquated, but they know how to fix them and implied they will reimagine the events.
-A caller asked about Mixed Match Challenge season two compared to season one and their relationship with Facebook. She spoke about expanding the show length in season two and said it has helped.
-Advertising revenue declining was brought up. Barrios mentioned things increase around WrestleMania time, and Wilson mentioned some of their sponsors and spoke about how they are happy with where things are.
-Barrios was asked about expenses increasing and he mentioned training academies and network enhancements.
-A caller asked whether they are getting closer to tiering the network. Barrios joked that we are always getting a little closer. Barrios said they want to do it right. He said they are hard at work at reimagining the network experience. He mentioned 2019, but he was not specific in terms of a target date.
-The next caller brought up the added in-ring content on WWE Network and asked how important it is. Wilson said they have data they look at that they use and she said in-ring content is a driver. She said the NXT show is one of their top performing network programs outside of their pay-per-view events. She mentioned the launch of NXT UK building engagement in the local market. She said the viewership has been strong in every market, not just in the UK market.
-The caller also brought up the women’s division and asked what it would take to add a one-hour women’s program to WWE Network. She said they have talked about a women’s show and a logical conclusion would be determining when they have an all women’s show. She said nothing is set, but it is on the road map of their ideas.
-A caller asked if there are any risks with Saudi Arabia that are outside their control in terms of potential economic sanctions. Barrios was very quiet and hard to hear, but he addressed it quickly and moved on.
Update: Chris Harrington transcribed the exchange: Caller: “Respecting you don’t want to talk about Saudi Arbia, can you frame what risks that relate to Saudi Arabia outside your control? Economic Sanctions risk?” Barrios: “The complexity of the situation as Vince said. All our thoughts are in our statement.” Caller: “Is there an analogous situation?” Barrios: “No”
-WWE’s social media engagement came up. Wilson spoke of how their content strategy continues to evolve. She said their improvements in that area are driving it. When it comes to monetization, Barrios said it manifests in different business lines.
-With no additional callers, Weitz wrapped up the call.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Jerry Lynn.
The Best of The Boom features Jim Ross joining Jason Powell in this May 9, 2018 discussion regarding his relationship with Vince McMahon, why Vince sticks with Roman Reigns, how Triple H has changed over the years, and more. New episodes of the Boom are typically available mid-week...