WWE, (World Wrestling Entertainment: NYSE) posted their highest ever earnings in company history during their 4th quarter earnings conference call to stockholders and industry media outlets, making 2015 the overall most successful year in the history of WWE.
TWM News was present on the call, which was opened by Michael Weiss, as usual.
Following the welcome, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon opened proceedings announcing 2015 was the most successful year financially in company history.
International revenue has grown substantially, with WWE surpassing 8 billion views on YouTube across all their channels, making them the top sports network in the world on the site.
McMahon, 70, boasted WWE Network’s success in saying that 1.3 million subscribers was exactly where they should be, and that we’re due an updated announcement on subscribers just after WrestleMania this year. The new content was plugged and it was noted that WWE Network subscribers have consumed more content than those of any cable company with an on-demand service. He emphasised that fans obviously love the Network.
WWE’s stock price was down for the day, which while acknowledged on the call, was said to be a general trend of the industry and nothing to worry about.
Vince then turned proceedings over to Georgie Barrios, WWE’s Chief Financial Officer, who confirmed WWE Network’s latest subscriber numbers would be released on April 4, the day after WrestleMania. He stated early indications show the number is at a record high.
The Q&A was started, opening the floor to media outlets to ask questions and get some answers from WWE executives.
Barrios was asked about WWE losing 50,000 subscribers in the quarter despite new content being made available. His answer was the statistics show the average consummation of content is 188 hours per subscriber which means those who are sticking with the Network are devoted to it. He re-iterated that WWE was extremely happy with where the Network is.
Vince was asked how successful WrestleMania will be given the long list of top tier talent out injured, to which McMahon replied that it forces them to be a bit more creative, however he said WrestleMania 32 would be just as good as last years.
Barrios was asked if the initial new subscribers from WrestleMania are retained, to which he answered that most were, but accepted that some would be lost due to the free month and pure curiosity of WWE’s product. He said he expects the same this year.
George and Vince were asked if the decline in ratings were a concern, and how this correlates to subscribers on the Network. The answer to this question is one we here at TWM News have always guessed would be the case, especially with technology being the way it is.
Vince said that of course TV ratings are down, but they’re not down anywhere near as much as the total ratings of the Network’s that they’re on. Our research shows this to be completely accurate.
McMahon also stated that WWE are well aware that people in today’s world will watch how they want to and when they want to. He stressed that although still somewhat important, they’re in a sense “old school” and not the direct indication of WWEs popularity that they once were.
WWE’s record high merchandise, Network subscribers and video game sales prove this to be true. If less people were watching WWE’s product, this wouldn’t be the case.
George was asked about specific figures for NXT. Barrios nearly always refuses to go into specifics and this was no different. Instead he stated that overall, WWE were extremely happy with NXT as a brand. He said NXT will continue to expand globally, and that they’re excited about it.
When asked what the top 5 countries for WWE Network subscribers were, the US, UK and Canada were named in the top 3. Barrios said they have an amazing mix of countries in the top tier.
They were asked about whether they would do a buyback of company shares with their cash reserves. The Board considers everything.
They were asked about the WWE app and WWE.com, as opposed to social media. They will continue investing in what they own. They asked about marketing NXT outside of the Network. They said they will be deciding that about all of their products as they go forward. George said that while you can only see NXT on the Network in the US, in some countries they have licensing deals, so that should tell you they would be open to them here.
Markets left for WWE to enter are China, Thailand and The Philippines and Barrios stated they’ll be in all three markets by the end of this year.
That ended the call as media outlets were thanked for their time.
It’s obvious that this is all amazing news for WWE. Nothing stands out negatively, other than declining TV ratings which is not just a trend for WWE, but a trend for all of television in general as online consummation of content becomes more popular.