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- WWE announced their fourth quarter financials today. Here are some excerpts from the full release they sent out…

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010. Revenues totaled $122.5 million as compared to $117.3 million in the prior year quarter. Operating income was $14.4 million as compared to $17.8 million in the prior year quarter. Net income was $8.1 million, or $0.11 per share, as compared to $11.2 million, or $0.15 per share, in the prior year quarter.

“In 2010, WWE achieved record operating performance, generating the highest level of reported EBITDA in the Company’s history despite a challenging environment, particularly over the latter part of the year. Difficult trends continued in the fourth quarter and were exacerbated by the performance of Home Video. In 2010, WWE achieved record operating performance, generating the highest level of reported EBITDA in the Company’s history despite a challenging environment, particularly over the latter part of the year. Difficult trends continued in the fourth quarter and were exacerbated by the performance of Home Video,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “For the quarter and the full year, our businesses exhibited three major areas of strength: increased value from our television content, significant growth from our new toy licensing partnership with Mattel, and continued financial discipline. These strengths served to mitigate the impact of a weak economy, changes in our talent base, and unfavorable industry trends in home video. We remain confident that we can address our talent related challenges, expand both our content and distribution and, leveraging our strengths, drive meaningful growth.”

Impacting comparability to the prior year quarter are production tax credits and charges associated with the write-down of a receivable due from a former business partner in the prior year quarter. Excluding the impact of these items, Q4 2010 Adjusted Operating income decreased 22% to $14.4 million and Adjusted EBITDA decreased 20% to $17.6 million. The Q4 2009 results included a $6.4 million charge associated with the write-down of a receivable due from a prior business partner. In addition, the Q4 2009 results included approximately $5.8 million of tax credits received related to our television and digital media production activities, which were recorded as a reduction of the direct expense in these areas and in our selling, general and administrative costs. (See Schedules of Adjustments in Supplemental Information). Please note that our revised film strategy utilizing a self-distribution model impacts the comparability of results but is not adjusted for in the aforementioned schedules.

Revenues from North America increased by 8%, led by growth in our Television, Licensing and WWE Studios businesses. Revenues outside North America decreased 3%, due to declines in our Live Events and Pay-Per-View businesses. There was no significant impact from changes in foreign exchange rates in the current quarter.

Revenues from our Live and Televised Entertainment businesses were $82.4 million for the current quarter as compared to $83.8 million in the prior year quarter, representing a 2% decrease.

* Live Event revenues were $26.6 million as compared to $29.2 million in the prior year quarter. Revenues decreased 9% primarily due to a decline in average attendance, both domestically and internationally, which was partially offset by an overall increase in the average ticket price.

* There were 84 events, including 26 international events, during the current quarter as compared to 83 events, including 26 international events, in the prior year quarter.
* North American events generated $13.1 million of revenues from 58 events as compared to $13.7 million from 57 events in the prior year quarter. North American average attendance decreased 15% to approximately 5,600 from 6,600 in the prior year quarter. The average ticket price for North American events was $39.31 in the current quarter as compared to $35.48 in the prior year quarter.

* International events generated approximately $13.4 million of revenues as compared to $15.5 million in the prior year, based on the performance of 26 events in each quarter. International average attendance decreased 12% to 7,500 from 8,500 in the prior year quarter. Average ticket prices were $66.06 as compared to $69.78 in the prior year quarter, a 5% decrease, in part due to changes in foreign exchange rates.

* Pay-Per-View revenues were $13.8 million as compared to $16.3 million in the prior year quarter, reflecting a 23% decline in total pay-per-view buys. Beginning in January 2010, the suggested domestic retail price of non-WrestleMania pay-per-view events increased $5.00 to $44.95

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