WWE held a conference call earlier today to discuss the company’s second quarter financial numbers that were released Thursday morning.
Participants in the conference all were Chairman Vince McMahon, Chief Financial Officer George Barrios and Chief Operating Officer Donna Goldsmith. Chief Executive Officer Linda McMahon also took part in the call, but did not make any future comments during the call.
Vince McMahon said the company did a “pretty good job” this quarter despite the economy and put over the WWE having a good operating income despite a decrease in revenue. McMahon added that even if the WWE took WrestleMania 25 numbers out of the mix the company would still have seen a 4% increase in attendance, which he described as a good barometer of interest in the current product.
McMahon also addressed the decline in DVD revenue saying that DVD sales and PPV sales “need to be addressed”, but also put blame on the bad economy as a reason for the decrease. He said that he is still “bullish” on the company and they will soon be rolling out a three-year business plan to increase profitability starting in the next quarter.
When asked if the “special guest hosts” for Raw has brought a positive change to TV viewership and attendance, Vince McMahon said that it was “hard to say” at this point, but that did praise the appearance of Shaquille O’Neal. McMahon added that they received a lot of coverage from ESPN and entertainment programs that normally do not mention them did talk about the WWE following the appearances of Seth Green and Jeremy Piven. He described it as a different approach to try and “broaden the audience” which seems to be successful thus far.
In regards to the “Denver Debacle”, Vince joked he is still waiting for a letter of apology from Stan Kroenke. He added that they sent them a bill for around $300,000 for costs they incurred as a result of being moved out of the Pepsi Center and that they have yet to receive any money so far. Vince said there are no plans for legal action at this time.
In discussing WWE Superstars, Vince said WGN is very happy with the show and the program is where they expected it to be in terms of TV ratings.
When asked about cutting $7 million out of the cost for WrestleMania 25 this year, Vince said that it was just efficiency and the fact that last year’s WrestleMania was outdoors. This meant including a one-time use entrance structure. He added that this year was just scaling back production costs and marketing.
On DVD sales declining, Donna Goldsmith said some of the titles this year have not been as strong, but feel there are strong titles that will be reflected in the next quarter. She added that due to the economy many retailers are not ordering as many units as they have done before. Goldsmith also added that the litigation between THQ and Jakks should have an effect on them to which Vince added that “Jakks are not our friends.”
On “12 Rounds” starring John Cena, Vince said its showing was “a bit disappointing”, but is proud that if put all their films together there is a “slight profit” in the division.
Vince said WWE will not discount tickets saying “the circus can do that” and that discounting tickets means you discount the product. He said the lowering of ticket prices overseas was a result of the countries they were in versus last year.
* Vince said the company has plans to run more international events as part of the three-year-plan, but not all events will be “A-type events.”