Here are some highlights from Thursday’s WWE investor conference call:
– Vince McMahon was asked about CM Punk’s status with the company. He replied,
“CM Punk is taking a sabbatical. Let’s just put it that way.”
– Overall, Vince said that their results were right around expectation (down due to “investment in the future”).
– TV Viewership was up 17% to 14.2 million viewers a week. Total Divas has helped drive up TV revenue. Live events increased 2 percent in 2014.
– Due to expenses related to the WWE Network and a loss of revenue from PPV cannibalization, 2014 could see lower earnings than 2013. They expect a net loss of $12-15 million dollars in the first quarter of this year. They will have a better idea of this year’s outlook at the first quarter conference call in May.
– WWE has new TV deals in the UK and Thailand and the deals are 3-7 times more than they were in the past. The UK and Thailand deals are now their number one and three deals outside of the US.
– WWE has the second-highest selling line of action figure brands in the country.
– When asked why WWE is still in the movie business, Vince said that their third business model for movies is finally making them money. They are a content company and they are still optimistic about the earnings potential of WWE Studios. The WWE Studios division did much better in Q4 2013 and they plan to “stay the course” with the studio this year. They mentioned the upcoming Scooby-Doo and Flintstones animated movies.