WWE 2020 Q1 Financial Notes: Revenue, Subnets, More

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Before investors call Thursday afternoon, WWE released its first quarter 2020 figures, showing year-over-year net income growth of 60% to $ 291 million, with paid subscribers. WWE network resources ranging from 1.46 million.

They added that network subscribers peaked at 2.1 million on April 6 due to the largest number of weekend (Friday-Sunday) subscriber additions in their history. When they called, they refused to say how much was free versus paid, but in their main performance indicators, they listed 1.6 million employees.

WWE stocks closed the day at $ 39.07, but after hours the news seemed favorable to the news, dropping to $ 42.50 at the time of writing.

XFL was not mentioned during the call.

Investor call notes and audio can be found below by clicking the red “Right Click Save” button.

Notes from the press release and the presentation part of the call:

  • The year-over-year increase is due to their television broadcasting rights, offset by lower revenues from live event tickets and merchandise sales.
  • Operating profit was $ 53.3 million, up from a loss of $ 6.8 million in the prior year quarter.
  • A record 46 million hours were consumed during WrestleMania week, up 28% from the previous year. Digital video views increased 25% to 9.6 billion and 344 million hours consumed, up 15%.
  • They discussed some of the changes they had to make because of COVID-19, which have all been discussed previously. They compensate for the loss of ticket and merchandise sales by reducing operating events and a “new model” of content generation.
  • Vince McMahon said the coronavirus only affected a few weeks during the quarter and will continue to produce “compelling content” in the weeks to come.
  • He acknowledged that the raw scores were significantly lower from year to year and said SmackDown was fairly consistent. He said it’s a difficult environment, but you have to take advantage of that environment and make it special. They will continue to seek to create mini-films as they did at WrestleMania.
  • He said WrestleMania was “out of the ordinary” for social interaction and that the number of network subscribers added over the weekend was the highest in their history.

Q&A Notes (Vince McMahon, Interim CFO Frank Riddick, Michael Weitz)

  • McMahon said they have several states ready as backup plans, ready to host WWE if Florida suddenly isn’t an option.
  • VKM was asked about “soft ratings” during the coronavirus pandemic and how to reverse the trend. He said, “It goes to the product itself. It’s a completely different feeling. He said they are finding ways to adapt to this new environment, and that Raw has seen many new talents that people are getting to know.
  • Regarding the Middle East agreement, Saudi Arabia wants to host another event, but does not know if it can still give the green light for November or December. They will just nail down the event at the back of the contract so as not to lose money. They’re still working on MENA rights, but it’s progressing slowly.
  • There will be no new video games this year.
  • When asked if they could film Full Sail with a live audience practicing social distancing, McMahon admitted that he no longer knew what “live audience” would mean more (test, distancing, etc.) . “If anyone knows how to do it in a safe and exciting way, it’s us. He added that they will likely be the first as they always are.
  • He then said he did not know if the company would be in the live events business as before, saying it would be more content-oriented. ” This is not a problem. It’s an opportunity. He then wondered if the arenas would charge less rent due to the expected drop in attendance, which would then lower ticket prices.
  • McMahon says the coronavirus caught everyone in his pants, but they still think a network deal with a streaming partner is near and that a number of people still want their content. A free version of the network will likely be available in the fourth quarter.
  • He explained how talents and employees are tested on the PC. They do “everything imaginable”, including a sequestered hotel, monitoring everyone, forms, etc.
  • He put on the talent and they rose to the challenge. He is very proud of them.

Quarterly release notes: notes, network, merchandise, attendance

  • Gross ratings decreased 16% year-over-year while USA Network decreased 29% and the top 25 cable networks decreased 5%.
  • SmackDown’s ratings have increased by 16% year over year, while Fox has increased by 36% and the big four broadcast networks have decreased by 6%.
  • The average number of paid network subscribers fell to 1.4 million over one year, compared to 1.58 million in 2019. Paid domestic service fell to 1.05 million compared to 1.1 million last year .
  • Average attendance at live events was up, but this was due to only 42 events during the quarter due to the coronavirus. They held 91 global trade shows in the first quarter of last year.
  • Revenues from live events decreased to $ 17.5 million from $ 26.2 million in the prior year quarter last year.
  • Basic content fee doubled to $ 133 million year-over-year, while advertising and sponsorship was only $ 17.4 million compared to $ 10.9 million in 2019 .
  • Consumer products fell to $ 16.9 million, down from $ 20.8 million in the quarter last year.
  • They declined to provide prospects for the second quarter and the rest of the year due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

Click below to listen to the entire call:

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