WWE held a media conference call earlier today to discuss the third quarter earnings that were released this morning. WWE CEO Linda McMahon, COO Michael Sileck and CFO Frank Serpe were all present for the call.
– Linda opened with a prepared statement that praised the support of their investors and fans during "a period of adversity for our company". She bragged about their international business and expansion.
– CFO Frank Serpe said that WWE 24/7 is now available in more than 75% of the available video-on-demand homes in North America. They also pointed out that there was a 50% decline in home video sales this quarter compared to last year, but noted there were no new releases, outside of PPV titles, during this quarter.
Here are the highlights from the Q&A session that followed the opening statements:
– WWE.com continues to be a very successful venture for the company. Internet advertising revenue is growing, they’ve hired a new online writing staff and recently redesigned the site.
– Regarding international events, they were asked about that are paid for by promoters (in other words, promoters buy the shows from WWE for a flat fee, and it is up to the promoter to sell tickets for the event and make it successful for them). WWE noted that they run those shows on a case-by-case business depending on the market.
– The strategy for WWE Films going forward is to focus on straight-to-video releases. They are currently working on 3 films that will not be shown in theaters.
– There have been no Wellnes Policy violations since the last round of suspensions. Linda noted that tests are not done every day, and that it takes time to get tests results back. She praised the Wellness Policy, and said they would be announcing the names of the 10+ suspended superstars in the near future. Linda stressed that they created the Wellness Policy to help take care of their performers, and noted the other aspects of it beyond drug testing, like the cardio tests and regular physical exams.
– Dividends were discussed. WWE said they are mindful of possible changes in tax laws when considering how often they will issue them in the future.
The call lasted 30 minutes, with most of the time being taken up by the review of the financial numbers.