WWE held their annual shareholder's meeting on Friday 4/27 in Stamford, CT at Titan Tower. The Members of the Board, including Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn and Basil Devito were introduced. Triple H was in attendance and introduced under his real name as well.
After several matters were settled, Vince was introduced. He said that there are two things you can't avoid in the world- death and taxes. He said that he was adding a third and that was a guarantee that the company will be in stronger shape by this time next year. He said that live attendance is the barometer of what they do because it's the most expensive way to experience their product when you add in merchandise, travel and parking for a family, it's a considerable expensive is the soul of what they do. He stated that their attendance is up, Raw ratings were up 3% while Smackdown was up 15%. He said that other shows cannot stay that especially shows that have been on the air as long as Raw. He noted that Raw would celebrate it's 1000th episode this July and it speaks of the long term commitment of the brand. He praised it as having staying power unlike anything ever before on TV.
Vince said that they have more opportunities for growth than ever before because their product and superstars can fit into various platforms and social media better than anything else out there. He said two things held them back this year- the performance of the film division and the lack of TV rights from shows they held off. He said that timing was important for TV. He said announcements would be forthcoming that would show increases in the TV licensing and revenue and claimed the company knows how to utilize their TV better than anyone. He said there would be an explosion of their bottom line when it came to revenue for the network as well.
Vince introduced CFO George Barrios. He thanked everyone for joining them and being shareholders. Barrios said that he wanted to provide context for WWE's strategic priorities - to expand the production and distribution, build their brand, accelerate their international growth and innovating the product. He claimed 37% of their business was now international.
Barrios said 2010 was their most profitable year ever but they dropped $40 million in 2011. $30 million of that was losses from the film division. He said that the remainder was holding off rights fees of shows outside of Raw and Smackdown as they hold that product off for the network. He said the core business was solid but those two items hurt them.
Barrios said that they expanded content in 2011, touting Tough Enough on USA and providing exclusive short form content on Youtube. He said that they continue to monetize their library, creating new shows like Monday Night Wars and WWE Countdown. He said their social media numbers are staggering, talking about some of those, including a billion views on Youtube.
On the international side, they broadcast TV from Mexico and did events for the first time in Russia and U.A.E. They look forward to going to Brazil for the first time On the TV side, they secured deals in Russia and Brazil.
When it came to innovating the product, they were proud to say WWE was the #2 action figure brand. They touted the new video game as well as the WWE Rumblers action figures, which attracted younger fans. He said they are working on executing their four strategies and making it a stronger product.