WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson and SVP Financial Planning & Investor Relations Michael Weitz are hosting a Second Quarter 2017 earnings call today from WWE headquarters in Stamford. You can check out coverage of this morning’s press release at this link. Below are highlights:
Weiss opens the call and welcomes us with the basics. Vince McMahon takes over and says they are pleased with execution of strategy to optimize longtime value of their content. He touts some of the numbers from the press release, including live event revenue, WWE Network revenue and subscribers. Vince touts The Mae Young Classic and says it’s one of the things Triple H is putting together for the company, as he did with the Cruiserweight Classic. Vince says The MYC is the chance to bring up young female performers, which is vital to their overall product. He says many of their quarter-hours of TV programming reflect success for the female performers. Vince says one of the things he looks at for overall interest in a product is digital video views and they had 9.1 billion views in this part of the year, which is extraordinary. He also touts social media followers and says that’s a tremendous indication of overall interest. He also touts global sponsorship and how blue-chip sponsors like KFC, Nestle, AT&T and others have joined them. He plugs the September live event in China and says their strategy in China is looking good. He also plugs some of their international TV deals before turning it over to Barrios.
Barrios goes over some of the numbers in the press release and turns the call over to Wilson. She touts the recent WWE UK Title special and The Mae Young Classic. She also talks about the new localized international content that Vince mentioned, and the recent tryouts in Dubai. She touts the 750,000 subscribers that The Bella Twins’ YouTube channel added in the quarter. They also have a Snapchat series launching with NBCU that will begin later this year. Wilson also touted the new blue-chip sponsors that Vince mentioned, noting that they contributed to a 25% increase in global sponsorship for the year. She goes on and mentions the success of the new WWE Tap Mania game. Wilson turns the call back over to George. He says the results show that they continue to drive innovation and transform their business. He goes on with numbers from the press release, and turns the call back over for questions from investors.
When asked about blue-chip advertisers, Wilson talks about how they had to educate people about their brand and that has led to new advertisers joining them. The PG content rating helps with that. They are really proud of the roster of advertisers and sponsors that they are bringing on. They are asked about how the localization efforts are going around the world and how fans are responding to the efforts. Barrios touts the new show in India, saying it’s their most watched show hourly. They have a similar show in the Middle East and are working on other localized versions of shows in other markets. Barrios called it a big win for them. When asked how close they are to a weekly WWE UK TV show or a tour for the brand, Barrios says it goes back to the localization of content. Barrios says they are excited as they have a large, hungry fanbase in the UK and they will continue to build on that.
When asked about ways to get Network subscribers up in the future, Barrios said they have a lot of ideas and will continue to create fun, new content for subscribers. They are also getting better at communicating with current and former subscribers. Barrios confirmed to a caller that RAW and SmackDown are their biggest, most profitable revenue streams, their biggest monetization. Barrios later noted that they have produced around 300 hours of original Network content per year. They were asked about China and Barrios said it’s gone from an early developing market to a market that they are starting to monetize. Barrios commented on how they only have so many days per year that they can tour and how they have to make choices because they are popular in every country across the globe. That’s it from the callers. Weiss thanked everyone for tuning in to end the call.