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Vince McMahon 'disappointed' with new television deal and other notes from WWE Investor conference call

The Chairman and his CFO held an emergency call to address worried investors this morning. They spoke to their impressions of last week's television deal with NBC Universal and how the Network launch is going so far. The call was light on specifics, though, and so far, Wall Street has reacted accordingly.

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WWE held an emergency investor conference call this morning at 11AM Eastern time to respond to their plummeting stock price and calls for answers/management team changes in light of the television deal that they announced with NBC Universal last week.

Chairman and Chief Executive Office Vince McMahon (from London, where he's travelling for tonight's Raw) and Chief Strategy & Financial Officer George Barrios represented the company on the call.

On the subject of the new television deal, Vince said that were "disappointed" and that it was a good deal, but not what they had hoped for.  He mentioned that they did better in their international renewals and are particularly excited about prospects for the still in-progress India deal.  The call was largely absent of details; for example, Barrios answered a question on the length of the NBCU deal by saying that their television contracts are typically for five years or less.

McMahon acknowledged that the launch of the WWE Network probably hurt the negotiations for television rights, but that they felt they needed to launch during WrestleMania season, and failing to start when they did would have meant waiting another year.

He spoke about blazing trails with over-the-top distribution, a direction that he feels everyone across the entertainment and television business acknowledges that the market is headed in, while at the same time believing their core business to be "rock solid".

Barrios reiterated much of the same data and rhetoric that the company has discussed in the past concerning the business plan for the Network.  He walked listeners through a scenario whereby they would have 1.5 million subscribers in 2015, all while stressing that the numbers only represented one possible scenario.  The CFO again emphasized their five point plan of: creating new content, accessing more global markets, expanding distribution platforms, developing new features and aggressive marketing campaigns.  Outside of again mentioning Tough Enough as new content, no additional details emerged on that plan.

When asked for an update on subscribers currently, Barrios stating that they plan to stick to releasing those figures with their regular quarterly earnings reports and conference calls.   A caller also asked about the make-up of the management team responsible for the Network, presumably departures such as Perkins Miller and Matthew Singerman, and Barrios said they were confident in their team and would not get into specifics.

In a bit of unintentional comedy, there were technical issues that resulted in problems with callers (including Brad Safalow, the analyst that Vince had infamously promised to put in a hammerlock if they didn't double or triple their television deal), Barrios being dropped from the call and McMahon being caught saying "shit".  The CFO returned to answer more questions after that, but the CEO did not.

There are more reports from listeners who took better notes and captured more numbers than I did, such as these from PWTorch and PWInsider.  I listened more for a general tone, and I have to say that it didn't sound as confident and clear as I would have liked if I was a concerned investor.

Thus far, Wall Street has reacted with a steady, "meh" as they stock price has dipped below 11 around mid-day from an 11.73 opening figure and a morning high of 11.91.

More news and analysis on WWE's business outlook forthcoming, Cagesiders.  What do you make of the latest?

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