WWE First Quarter Conference Call Summary – Tiered Pricing, Network In China, Network Ads and More

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WWE held its first quarter conference call today to discuss revenue results. 

The call consisted of all the fun business speak you’d expect from a conference call with lots of instances of “millenials” and “social media” so all the grandpas in the room sounded hip and with it. Here are some brief highlights.

-Vince McMahon and George Barrios were the only two on the call, George answered the majority of the questions.

-When comparing this quarter to 2014 it’s important to note that WrestleMania 30 was in 2Q. WrestleMania 31 was also the highest grossing live event in company history.

-They would not give the current subscriber amount of subscribers that they had today, that will be in the second quarter call. Through March 31st WWE had attracted nearly 1.8 million subscribers with 74% currently active, that’s how they got to the 1.3 million.

-The average amount of paid subscribers the Network maintained through 1Q was approximately 927K. So it’s important to note that they are still averaging UNDER the 1 million necessary to make a profit.

Some of the questions that were asked from the media:

-A caller asked whether the fixed investment costs were going to go up for the Network and Barrios said they’d be about the same, 115 million give or take 10%. The caller also asked whether they would expand on the idea of ads on the Network. Barrios thought they did a lot of great product integration with Paramount and the new Terminator movie and while they’re exploring it he doesn’t think you’ll see any more ads than normal on the Network.

-A question came up about whether the Ent would implement a tiered pricing system for the Network since previously WrestleMania had been a higher price than the other pay-per-views. Vince responded that there could always be a change for pricing events like WrestleMania and SummerSlam but for now they’re looking for ways to keep consumers engaged all year long. He concluded that they are currently not looking at a tiered pricing system. So there you go, still 9.99 for WrestleMania for right now.

-Barrios was asked if he could tell them the Network demographics in comparison to their main audience. The caller specifically asked for age and income range. Barrios said the Network skewed younger than WWE TV’s main audience which was 40% under 34. He dodged the question on income, so I’m going to assume it’s on the lower end of the scale. This is probably a point of contention among them as the audience’s low income range was cited as a major reason for WWE getting less than they expected during TV rights negotiations.

-The most corporate-speak question ever was asked in regards to the source churn rate of the Network. Churning essentially means subscriber turnover. Barrios stated the need to put forth compelling content as a way to fight churning. Meanwhile, Vince planned more handicap matches involving Kane and Big Show.

-A caller asked what percentage of last years WrestleMania subscribers were still active and Barrios told him to f*** off. I’m kidding, he said he hadn’t published it yet.

-Caller asked about more global Network roll outs. Barrios said that China, India, Italy and Germany are still on the list and they would most likely announce plans for those countries in the next 12-18 months. They also said that China was something they were looking at and that the strategy was the same as it is for other countries. It’s basically “1. Establish TV Presence 2. ???? 3. Profit”. The ???’s are Roman Reigns matches.

That was pretty much it. No CM Punk mentions, no crazy Vince gaffs, just the same pricing for right now, China and yammering on about how important social media is.

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