Here is my take on the rest of today's WWE Earnings Conference Call.
George Barrios, during his presentation, made it clear that they expect to be getting a lot more in revenue for their content with the major deals that are coming due. That is their driver going forward. He made it very clear that the viewing patterns of WWE shows are like sporting events in that people watch them largely live and thus are "DVR proof". They referenced the ever growing rights fees for sports content, since it's also DVR proof, and are clearly positioning themselves as a similar product when doing their new deals.
After George, they turned it over to the Q and A section.
The first caller asked about the fact that they expect to have their TV deal done in the US done by April, even though the current deal runs into later next year. Vince said that they have an exclusive window with NBC Universal to negotiate for Raw and Smackdown through the first of the year. He said if they don't do a deal by then, they can go to other providers and expect that the new deal will be done quickly. His tone made it clear that he isn't concerned if NBC Universal balks at their price. With the plethora of new Sports networks that would love to gain four million eyeballs every Monday and close to three million for Smackdown, I don't blame him. Finally, WWE seems to be in the position to get the revenue that they are really worth.
George was asked about his comment where he said that if they couldn't significantly increase revenue, management would take a pay adjustment. He was asked about specific numbers that they need to hit to get the point where they would slide back. Vince said it was basically a failsafe to have in place.
They were asked about how they would address the dropping PPV buys and whether the Network showing them is their plan. Vince reiterated that it is an attraction business and SummerSlam failed. He said that it's all about having the right attraction.
George reiterated that the TV rights deals are very significant, but came short of saying way more important than PPV. One could infer that though. The tone of the call certainly indicated that they expect a big increase in rights fees for their programming and that will make the company much more flush.
No one else asked a question and that was it and Vince said the future is bright in response.
Before they went off the air, you could hear Vince say, "As Daniel Bryan would say..." It seemed like they were surprised that no one else asked a question. But to be fair, they did make it really clear where things stood in the call. I expected someone to ask about the Network's launch date, but I guess everyone is just tired of getting the same answer.
Mike Johnson and I will be doing a show looking at the events of today later this morning.