clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE touting record revenue for 2016, 1.5 million paid Network subscribers

WWE Network

While sharper business minds than mine will parse the fourth quarter 2016 financial reports WWE released this morning (Feb. 9, 2017) to give us versions of the truth behind the numbers - probably after the investor conference call with Chairman Vince McMahon & Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios, also scheduled for today - we can hit a couple high points.

The report leads by touting revenue figures, incuding $194.9 million for Oct. - Dec. 2016, a 17% increase for over Q4 2015, and $729.2 million for the year - a figure that’s “the highest in the Company’s history, including record levels of revenue from its Network, Television, Live Event, Venue Merchandise, and WWE Shop segments”.

On the Network side, they’re talking about a couple figures. For Q4, WWE says they had 1.41 million average paid subscribers, a 14% increase from the same period the previous year. But that’s actually down from Q3’s reported 1.44 million paid, which was itself down from Q2.

In the earnings presentation that followed the financial report, WWE provides another figure - 1.5 million paid as of Jan. 31.

Those are all fine numbers, one supposes, but it does seem like the Network is hitting it’s level below 2 million, which is lower than what they’d hoped. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that there’s still very little global adoption - the Jan. 31 figure only included 400,000 international subscriptions - so WWE thinks they can build from that, even if the U.S. number stays where it is.

Here’s there official press release:

Fourth-Quarter 2016 Highlights

- Revenue increased 17% to $194.9 million as compared to the prior year quarter

- Operating income of $13.9 million and Adjusted OIBDA1 of $20.5 million were in line with guidance

- WWE Network subscribers increased 14% from the fourth quarter 2015 to 1.41 million average paid subscribers over the fourth quarter 2016, consistent with the Company’s guidance

- The Company premiered new original content across platforms, including Total Bellas® (E! network), The Bella Twins® (YouTube channel), 205 Live™ and WWE Story Time™ (WWE Network)

- Announced new UK Championship Tournament to showcase local talent, which successfully engaged both attendees and network viewers in January 2017

- Announced SNICKERS® will once again serve as the exclusive presenting partner of WrestleMania® (April 2, 2017), which will be held at the Orlando Citrus Bowl and broadcast live globally on WWE Network

- WWE issued $215 million of convertible note financing to support the execution of the Company’s long-term growth strategy and for general corporate purposes2

Full Year 2016 Highlights

- Revenue increased 11% to $729.2 million, the highest in the Company’s history, including record levels of revenue from its Network, Television, Live Event, Venue Merchandise, and WWE Shop segments

- Total international revenue increased by 11% to a record $189.3 million

- Operating income increased 44% to $55.7 million and Adjusted OIBDA3 increased 17% to $80.1 million, with both measures within the relevant range of Company guidance

- WWE Network subscribers watched a total of 294 million hours of content (up 15% from 256 million in 2015), yielding an average of 194 hours per household that places it among top cable and broadcast networks

- Digital engagement continued to grow with video views up 56% to more than 15.1 billion and social media engagements up 45% to 1.1 billion from the prior year4

STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. For the quarter, the Company reported Net income of $8.0 million, or $0.10 per share, as compared to a Net loss of $1.2 million, or a $0.02 loss per share, in the prior year quarter. Operating income increased to $13.9 million from an Operating loss of $1.5 million. Excluding items affecting comparability, Adjusted OIBDA increased to $20.5 million from $11.1 million.

“During the past year, we continued to successfully execute our content strategy, which resulted in significant operational achievements and generated record revenue. We grew WWE Network to an average of more than 1.5 million subscribers, attracted record attendance of 101,763 fans at WrestleMania, and strengthened the global reach of our television programs, completing distribution deals in China, Australia, Germany and Spain, among other countries,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “The increased engagement with our brands across multiple platforms provides a foundation for achieving our 2017 and long-term financial objectives.”

How do you read these numbers, Cagesiders?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats