WWE held an investor conference call this morning to discuss the third quarter numbers that were released earlier today. Taking part in the call were WWE Chief Financial Officer Michael Sileck and WWE Chief Executive Officer Linda McMahon. Due to developing a case of laryngitis “overnight”, McMahon did not speak during the call. She was present for the call, and Sileck read a prepared statement from her. He also fielded all questions following the prepared statements. Here are the highlights from the call:
– During the prepared statement, WWE praised the move to USA Network as a reason for their success, and boasted about their live business starting to boom. They specifically mentioned the European tour (and the UK editions of Raw and Smackdown) being their most successful International tour to date and pointed to the recent Nassau Coliseum sellout as an example of growing domestic business.
– Tombstone: The History Of The Undertaker DVD set is the highest selling non-PPV WWE DVD release ever. Wrestlemania 21 is the highest selling WWE DVD set ever. They also put over the success of the Bret Hart DVD set.
– “See No Evil” starring Kane, is set to hit theatres on May 19th. “The Marine” starring John Cena is slated to hit theatres on September 29th. WWE Films is currently in pre-production for “The Condemned” with Steve Austin, with production set to begin in the Spring.
– While discussing the financial numbers, it was pointed out how WWE was able to “test” the live event market in Mexico by having a promoter there pay WWE a flat fee for the shows, so WWE took no financial risk with the events and was able to see what kind of reaction the product received in the market. WWE plans to do this again in untested international markets in the future.
– England, Italy and Australia continue to be the biggest international markets for WWE.
The following are highlights from the Q&A session at the end of the call:
– They were asked about upcoming DVD releases, but all that was mentioned was Wrestlemania 22 and that they are “working on” the Dusty Rhodes and Hulk Hogan releases. They also mentioned that sales for the Bret Hart DVD and the ECW: Bloodsport DVD sets are off to a strong start.
– They have obtained the Florida Championship Wrestling library, and will be using footage from it for the Dusty Rhodes DVD release. They are valuing the library as being worth about one million dollars.
– They were asked if a deal to bring WWE 24/7 to Comcast is close to being finalized, but they simply responded that they are working with several companies about carrying their video-on-demand service, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable. They also mentioned the recent deal to bring WWE PPV into hotels, and are also working to get WWE programming onto cruise ships.
– Concerning video games, it was noted that the major changes in the industry (the introduction of new game consoles) has slowed up some of the progress with producing new games.
– Stacy Keibler’s performance on Dancing With The Stars was praised, and it was noted that her contract expires in the summer. They stated that they are in conversations with her about the future. When asked if she would be on any future events, it was said that there are no plans for her to be written back into the storylines at this time.
– Linda McMahon managed a “thank you” at the end of the call.
The general vibe of the call was a positive one, with WWE and investors very happy with the numbers and the upswing in business, as well as Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC and Wrestlemania 22 coming up.
And to answer the question you are all wondering, there was absolutely NO mention of drug testing, a wellness program, The Rock, the alleged Vince McMahon tanning booth incident, or the recent releases of The Heart Throbs or The Dicks.