Vince McMahon hosted a conference call pertaining to the third quarter financial report that WWE released on November 1, 2012. Here are some highlights.
* Michael Weitz of WWE Investor Relations opened the call. Weitz hoped the callers on the East Coast were able to weather the storm. turned the call over to Vince.
* Vince said the quarter was where they expected to be, perhaps better. He noted that it was down from last year. He noted that their video game business down slightly only because they did not release a second title as they did last year.
* Vince said social media “is through the roof and will continue to be for quite some time.”
* Vince believes television ratings are good. He said they remain the No. 1 show on USA Network and Syfy. Vince said the third hour of Raw is doing “extremely well.”
* Vince touted the debuts of WWE Saturday Morning Slam and WWE Main Event. He also noted they launch of WWE programming on Hulu Plus, and discussed the deals to make the Scooby Doo movie and the ABC Family Christmas special.
* Vince believes the mobile app is “extraordinary.” He noted that it will be interactive over the next couple of weeks in ways that no television show has ever been.
* Vince said the WWE Network will be a premium subscription model. He said it will be the most interactive network in the world. He said there is movement on the network, then turned over the call to Barrios.
* Barrios went over the financial report and spoke about the new television deals and the increased number of television hours. He said it will not prevent them from launching a television network.
* Barrios sang the praises of their social media success by boasting about their Facebook “likes” count and Twitter followers.
* Ticket sales revenue were flat compared to the prior year quarter. Revenue in North America was up, and the company targeted areas that were doing better economically.
* WrestleMania buys were eight percent above the previous year, and the overall pay-per-view sales of the nine events this year were up nine percent compared to the same events in 2011.
* Television revenue was flat. Barrios attributed this to having fewer episodes of Smackdown within the quarter compared to last year, and ad rates.
* Barrios mentioned that the extra hour of Raw is performing better than NCIS reruns did for USA Network.
* The No Holds Barred movie re-release is expecting a $300,000 profit.
* Barrios revealed results of the fan base survey. Over 50 percent of the U.S. households have an affinity for WWE. Once Barrios finished running through the financial report, they opened up the phone lines.
* The first caller noted that we’re not getting a timeline on the network and asked about the network cannibalizing pay-per-view. Vince said the network will not do that. He said they have models that include pay-per-views and models that do not include pay-per-views. The caller asked if one of those models would give network subscribers pay-per-view. “It depends,” Vince responded.
* Vince said the Smackdown contract “comes up soon.” He noted that is the first TV deal to negotiate.
* Another called asked Vince about content for the network. He noted that different types of fans, including hardcore fans, want different things. He said they don’t want to give away too much because it could have an affect on their negotiations.
* Vince was asked about the increased attendance. He attributed it to the better quality of the product. He was asked how much he expects it to increase over time. Vince said he didn’t want to speculate, “but it will be good.”
* Another caller asked what type of increases they expect to see from their new television deals and Hulu Plus. Barrios said it was sensitive material because the partners may not want that information available. He said they feel good about the creative and the economics of the new shows.
* The caller pointed to the fan survey. He asked whether they needed to capture the full audience to make the network successful. Vince said they do not. He said their model makes a considerable amount of revenue. He said the chart tells them that the lapsed fans may have interest. He said it’s an older audience and felt there could be content for those fans. He said they could reach a large percentage of them, but it’s not based on the lapsed fan.
* The caller asked how much WWE would require to actually launch the network. Barrios said they are at 80 to 90 percent of the infrastructure they need. He seemed to indicate that the bigger expense could be the marketing push the network will require.
* This concluded the conference call.
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