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Credit: Larry Csonka
The call started at 11:03 AM ET.
Michael Weitz, SVP Financial Planning & Investor Relations opens the call and then turns it over to Vince.
Vince says that domestic attendance is up, for the fourth quarter in a row, which they are pleased with. Raw is up 5% in ratings, and Smackdown up 3%. Smackdown has seen a rise for the last seven quarters.
He thinks that the 700,000 subscribers is a great base to work from, and that they will go global (in not all, but several territories) on August 12th as announced earlier today.
He praises the new deal with Rogers in Canada, which includes the Network and core programming in an HBO model.
They confirmed the 7% decrease in staffing as they move forward.
The company plans to continue to add and grow the Network, and claim that 91% of users are happy with the service. They will localize the Network as needed.
They will ramp up third party advertising during August, due to Summerslam.
It is not known exactly when Italy, the UAE, Japan, Germany, China, Thailand, Mayalsia will get the Network.
Monday Night War and WWE Rivalries will be documentary-style pieces that will be added to the Network soon.
George Barrios runs through the financials, which have been broken down in the 411 news section.
They go into the question session, and Vince is asked about the pricing options for the Network. He says that they are growing and learning, and need to adjust accordingly to grow the Network.
When asked about going global more quickly than planned, he says that the English version will launch and that gets them into markets so that they can then offer an in language version. As for the economics, they aren’t increasing fixed cost, just some marketing increases.
They are asked about the internal expectations for the Network, and say that video subscription services can have a large turnover. They think that renewals will be good, but they will have to wait and see here in a few weeks. They are working on other pricing options.
The next caller asked about the $30 million improvement posted for 2015, and they stated that they will do that by “eliminating inefficiencies”. They grew, but want to avoid line item guidances.
Barios notes when asked that they see subscriber growth around the PPV events, both prior and after.
Vince says the Rogers deal in Canada could happen in other countries when they roll out the Network, but it just depends. They will not get into the financial terms of the Rogers agreement, but Vince says it was an offer that they could not turn down.
Going forward, they are not considering PPV revenue into 2015 projections, due to the feeling that the Network will cannibalize the PPV numbers. They will not confirm, but it sounds as if WrestleMania month will have a higher “one month” cost for people that only want the one month with no commitment. They announced a $19.99 option today. They are considering several payment options.
Barrios will not disclose the number of subscribers that have an automatic renewal for their Network subscription.
They would still love 1 million subscribers by year end.
They will not get into when the International deals will be up or any financial terms.Barrios said they have agreed to terms on their television rights deal in India, but they are still working on the finer points, but would not talk specifics.
When asked, Barrios declined to say how many television deals are up in the next 12-18 months.
A caller asked for the top ten viewership count in countries outside the United States. Barrios said it’s hard because ratings are gauged differently, and basically gave no real answer.
The subscriptions from the Rogers deal in Canada will be part of the overall subscriber number.
The call ended at 11:46 AM ET. They said there were no more questions, but it sounded as they just wanted it to be over as once again they had a lot they didn’t want to provide answers for, a lot of “we don’t/won’t comments on that” to callers. Not a good call and you could clearly tell by their moods.