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Thanks to Larry Csonka for this report:
WWE 3rd Quarter Conference Call Report: WWE Network Update, Discussion of Audience Growth, More
* The call started at 11:02 AM ET.
* They wish those on the east coast well, and Vince McMahon and George Barrios will be on the call.
* The overall WWE financials have been reported and broken down in the 411 news section, which you can check out at this link.
* Vince says they were about where they thought they would be for the quarter. All in all is about where they expected, but PPV is up and social media is through the roof. He feels their relationship with their audience and the social media initiatives are revolutionary.
* They have expanded TV by 2 ½ hours, says the 3rd hour of Raw is doing well, Saturday Morning Slam is the #2 kids show, and WWE Main Even ton ION gives them new viewers. He says the Hulu Plus deal was also completed in the quarter. He also mentions WWE reaching a new audience through the Scooby-Doo movie.
* Vince discusses the Susan G. Komen work WWE did, and says while helping them, they also reached out to a new audience.
* He puts over Saturday Morning Slam and Main Event as doing well for ratings. They renewed the Army National Guard sponsorship, and will be promoting the Rolling Stones PPV concert.
* Matell is happy with the Brawling Buddies, and feels it will bode well for the holiday.
* The new downloadable app is revolutionarily, and will get even bettering weeks to make their shows more interacting. 2.5 million have downloaded the app.
* The network will be a premium subscription model, and will be distributed by the usual outlets. The research says that this is the best way to go, and there is movement on the network.
* George Barrios takes over the call, and discusses the increase in WWE programming.
* The Hulu Plus and Youtube deals will not take away from the launch of the WWE Network.
* They have over 100 million Twitter and Facebook followers. They have more Facebook likes than the 32 NFL teams combined.
* They look to expand their presence on social media and digital platforms.
* They discuss the jump in PPV buys and live attendance figures.
* They are overall pleased with the performance of the company in the quarter.
* They credit Summerslam buyrate for the big improvement in the quarter. They are 9% above last year on PPV revenue.
* The 3rd hour of Raw has averages 4.4 million viewers, which is more than NCIS was doing for the USA Network.
* Video game revenue was down, due to releasing one less video game this year.
* Sales are down slightly, but are in line with the overall industry decline.
* Home video is down, but they cite lower sales cost for numerous titles (Superstars series, No Holds Barred) as the main reason.
* WWE’s Youtube channel is now the fourth most viewed channel.
* The release of No Holds Barred on DVD should bring a profit of $300,000.
* One of the goals of the Scooby-Doo movie is to help bond WWE superstars with the younger audience.
* The increase is management costs is due to the staffing of the WWE Network.
* They feel that by the end of the year, they will do 15-25% above last year’s numbers.
* They feel that it will take $35-40 million to fully launch the network, which includes staffing and the creation of new programming.
* On the US fanbase they say that there is evidence that 57% of US homes has “an interest” in WWE TV. 10-15 million households watch the WWE regularly. 20-40 million homes are casual fans, with some interest in the product.
* With the addition of new programming on new networks, they feel that those numbers will grow.
* They feel that premium subscription is the way to go with the WWE Network. They are still negotiating, so they will not make an announcement of a launch date at this time.
* WWE content is growing in value, and the new TV deals, along with the Hulu deal prove that.
* QUESTION AND ANSWER TIME
* Vince is asked about the Network, and possible loss of PPV buys due to that. He says it will not hurt PPV, and they will have models for the network that will include PPV, and one that won’t. It will be an add on to the current product. Vince will not confirm that PPV will be available on the network, only that it could.
* The Smckdown contract comes up soon, but says that they will need broad base programming to promote the network.
* Vince is VERY non-committal to discussing specifics of the network when pressed by a caller. He says it is to not interfere with current negotiations.
* The 4th quarter looks as if it will be on par with last year’s, and a little down from this quarter.
* On attendance, a caller says t is up, but lackluster overall from past years. When asked why the numbers are down, Vince says it is based on having a good product and expanding. They are reaching more people with social media. Vince says he won’t speculate on audience growth.
* On the films released in the quarter, some of the releases had smaller expectations, but overall they see some profit coming in projections, and they will be reflected next quarter.
* On TV revenue increase, due to the new shows, when will we see the growth? Hulu is digital business, not TV revenue. Since these are commercial deals, they will not discuss the specifics right now. They feel good about the new shows on creative and on the business side.
* On the research for the network, they are asked what they have to capture for it to be a success. Vince says they don’t need that much for it to be successful. If they capture the hardcore fan, they will be very successful. Vince says he was surprised by the numbers in the study.
* They will discuss more on the network on the next call, again. But they are at about 80% for the network launch, infrastructure wise.
* The call ended at 11:47AM ET.