WWE Network conference call recap

Thankfully for Vince, investors were generally positive about his WWE Network plans

Yesterday, WWE had a conference call for their investors about the eagerly awaited WWE Network. There really wasn't much in the way of new information, but we still have a summary of the event for you Cagesiders.

Yesterday, WWE had a conference call for their investors about the eagerly awaited WWE Network. Slides from the presentation can be seen here and a detailed recap of the event can be read here. There really wasn't much in the way of new information, but here are the key points that came out of the corporate shindig:

  • In their sales pitch to WWE investors, the company cited the sharp rise in the consumption of streamed video content especially in younger demographics, the proliferation of similar over the top services, their unique package of a 24/7 schedule, live programming and video on demand together with a competitive price point combines to offer the best value for money available, their proven brand strength and the fact that their most passionate fans are more digitally engaged and embrace online viewing to guarantee that the WWE Network would be a big money spinner.
  • It's interesting to note that WWE's Network is one cent a month cheaper than UFC Fight Pass despite offering all their pay-per-views on the channel. Coincidence I think not!
  • They are still claiming that "53% of [the U.S.] market or 62M households have affinity for WWE", broken down into 18% lapsed, 24% casual and 11% passionate. Hopefully they realise that number is BS and isn't the basis of their projections.
  • WWE plans to start doing a daily studio show for the Network in Q2 of 2014.
  • The plan looks to be to premiere an average of 21 hours of new programming a week to begin with between their PPV events, in-ring action from Raw, Smackdown and PPV pre and post game shows, NXT and Superstars, new original series like The Monday Night War and WrestleMania Rewind, encore presentations of their programming on cable networks and footage from their vault.
  • WWE is going to use Harte Hanks to provide the best-in-class customer service possible.
  • One million subscribers in the United States would be required to break-even on the WWE Network, but they're aiming for 2-3 million, which would increase the company's profits by $35-140 million.
  • Similarly, 250,000 subscribers would be needed to break-even in the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordic countries when they launch the network there in about 12 months time, but they want 750,000-1.5 million in order to increase company profitability by another $25-85 million.
  • By the end of Q4 2014 WWE hopes to attract at least 1 million subscribers and expand their offering of compelling original programming. In 2015/2016, WWE plans to develop new programming and expand the Network into more global markets.
  • George Barrios said they would announce the outcome of their ongoing TV deal negotiations in April/May. By the way they talked it certainly seems like they would prefer to stay in the NBCUniversal family, but are looking for multiple suitors to significantly drive up their rights fees.
  • The company believes that synergy between the WWE Network and their broadcast partners will lead to increased television ratings for Monday Night Raw and their other cable programming. Good luck with that one.
  • After Michelle Wilson trolled the pay-per-view industry by saying "I’m just not convinced the pay-per-view platform is in it for the long term. It’s not the best consumer experience. Most people don’t think fond things of cable or satellite providers. We think we can overdeliver like we always have.", the company took a more conciliatory tack here, likely spooked by DirecTV's public statements that suggested they may soon stop airing WWE PPVs. Vince explicitly said that they were not cutting the cord with pay-per-view, just giving their audience an affordable alternative, and that he hoped PPV providers would continue to carry their monthly PPVs for non-Network viewers.
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