Following up on the company's financial reports which were released earlier this morning (and that we provided some WWE Network-centric highlights of here), WWE held a conference call for investors at 11AM Eastern time this morning.
Present for the call from the Stamford, Connecticut-based company were Senior Vice-President of Financial Planning & Investor Relations Michael Weitz and Chief Strategy & Financial Officer George Barrios, but the call was kicked off by Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.
- McMahon said that domestic attendance is up, for the fourth quarter in a row, which they are pleased with. Raw is up 5% in ratings, and Smackdown up 3%. Smackdown has seen a rise for the last seven quarters.
- Vince is excited about 700,000 as a "good base to work from" for the Network, and praised the Rogers Communication deal in Canada (which you can read more about here).
- A 7% across the board staff reduction was confirmed.
- Many of the figures and details from our Network wrap-up are reiterated/confirmed.
- Vince was asked about expanding into foreign markets more aggressively than initially planned, and he emphasized that they will only be offering the English-language version of the service for now, so they aren't substanially increasing production costs.
- Internal expectations for the Network are still high, and they are developing an understanding that video subscription services have large turnover. Barrios noted that they have seen subscription increases before and after pay-per-view (PPV) events.
- They are not including PPV in 2015 revenue projections.
- There will be more pricing options than the existing one and the $19.99 per month, no commitment model announced today. It sounded like, but was not confirmed, that WrestleMania month may have a higher "no commitment" figure attached to it.
- The Rogers Communications deal in Canada could be used as a model for rolling out the Network in other countries/markets (a standard channel with Video on Demand content available as an included but separate service).
- They declined to discuss specifics of the Network launch in other international markets. They also declined to answer how many television deals will expire in the next 12 - 18 months.
- They said that they would still love to have one million subscribers by the end of 2014, but didn't elaborate if that was still a United States only goal, or indicate that that figure would have any bearing on break even or other measures of success.
The stock is down from its high earlier in the day, but remains up for the day.