My Authors
Read all threads
WWE Q4 2019 report and conference call tweets will be in this thread.

Read by full 2019 PDF on the wrestling industry here:
WWE earnings press release highlights:

Q4 revenue: $322.8mm
FY'19: $960.4mm (new WWE record)

Q4 net income: $69.3mm
FY'19: $77.1mm (short of 2018's $99.6mm)…
Curious statement from WWE:
" The Company is pursuing several strategic initiatives that could increase the monetization... These include distribution of content in the Middle East and India as well as the evaluation of strategic alternatives for the... WWE Network."
"At this time these initiatives are subject to considerable uncertainty. Excluding the potential impact of these initiatives, the Company estimates it can achieve 2020 Ddjusted OIBDA projection of $250mm to $300mm."
EPS for Q4: 78 cents
Operating income: $99.8mm
Adjusted OIBDA: $107.6mm

Q42019 avg paid WWE Network subs: 1.42mm
Q12020 projection: 1.47mm
Key Performance Indicators…

WWE Raw Same-day+Live ratings compared to USA Network and top 25 cable. Interestingly, data from Showbuzzdaily shows Raw declining more, by about 7%.
With Smackdown moving to Fox, it gets it's own page in the KPIs now, compared with Fox and top 4 broadcast networks.
Online video consumption slightly down from earlier in the year. Notable this now includes Tiktok.
Social media growth on other platforms and Twitter. Stuck at 502 million on Facebook. As always, this includes redundant followers across all brand and talent accounts.
Average paid WWE Network subscribers at 1,419,000. Slightly below WWE's 1.43mm projection.
Average North America attendance up to 5800, much higher than I expected. Live Events division still had another unprofitable quarter, -$1.0mm in operating income.
Many were wondering about NXT TV revenue. It's being reported in the Core Content Rights line, so it will be difficult to unpack given this is the first quarter with upstep in Raw and Smackdown fees.
Other media reported $56.1mm, which includes KSA, reality TV, WWE Studios and home entertainment. Likely another ~$50mm from KSA, related to Crown Jewel on Oct 31.

Curious that WWE is still owed more money than usual on the quarter.
KSA was late on paying for the May 2019 event, noticeable in WWE's accounts receivable line in previous reports.
Wrestling twitter special: WWE 2K20 sales apparently down.
I'll start entering some numbers into my own graphs now.

So far, potentially the most newsworthy bit is the comment about "strategic alternatives" for the WWE Network.

Is WWE considering selling PPVs to a bigger streaming service? Going back to traditional PPV? Something else?
WWE shares taking another big hit as the market opens this morning following the earnings release.
WWE Network subscriber trends: worldwide, U.S., international
WWE share price in pre-new U.S. TV deal territory at the moment, by the way.
WWE Live Events trends: still profitable overall thanks to Wrestlemania quarter (Q2). Total and average attendance is down.
Core Content Rights Fees. Includes Raw, Smackdown and now NXT TV fees. #guaranteed #escalating #TVrightsfees

Maybe I can tackle it later but it'll be difficult to make an estimate on the value of NXT since it's mixed in with the big step up for Raw and Smackdown.
WWE merchandise sales trends
WWE annual net income and revenue trends since 1995, adjusted for inflation.
With real reporting data released today, an update of my self-created WWE Popularity Index metric (a standardization of annual trends in average domestic attendance, total worldwide attendance, worldwide Google web search, merchandise revenue, PPV/Network sales)
WWE Other media revenue trends...

Guess which quarters contain a Saudi Arabia event.
WWE stock price is climbing back up after a hard fall at the opening of the market.
Conference call coming up at 11am ET, in about 15 minutes. Expecting Vince McMahon to be asked questions about the depatures of former co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson.

Anyone can login and listen:…
Investors presentation slides, just posted:…
Vince's bullet point on "management transition" alludes to Barrios and Wilson exit.

"Announced a management transition that did not reflect a change in strategy...The decision was based on different views on execution and areas of focus"
He also notes "evaluation of strategic alternatives" to WWE Network.

"We are changing the WWE culture to be more collaborative and inclusive..."
IR rep Michael Weitz says Vince McMahon and interim CFO Frank Riddick are on the call.
Vince says Barrios and Wilson "made more than significant contributions however with the change we won't miss a beat."
Vince says of WWE Network "strategic alternatives" that "which could be implemented quite frankly in the next quarter."
Riddick takes over, reviewing financial highlights.

He notes increased disruption from new streaming provides. Engagement metrics like TV ratings and attendance improved in Q4.
Riddick is taking over the role Barrios usually had on these calls, as expected.
Riddick refers to "strategic alternatives" having to do with WWE Network's most premium content, like main roster PPVs, maybe Takeovers.

Again this makes me think they're looking at selling PPVs to a bigger streaming service, someone like Peacock, DAZN, ESPN+.
I should note he didn't specifically say PPVs or Takeovers. That's merely my extrapolation.
Q&A is about to begin
Morgan Stanley asks to confirm no revenue in Q1 guidance for India and MENA media rights.

Riddick says yes on MENA but they have an existing deal in India. WWE is still on the air in India.
Is WWE Network a business you can sell? A partner like ESPN+?

Vince: We have a lot of options... We continue on with a free and enhanced paid tier. Right now is no more better time than to exercise the selling of our rights. All the majors are really clamoring for our content.
JPMorgan: Which PPVs? Wrestlemania? Royal Rumble? You'd be willing to move that over off the Network?

Riddick: At this point there's nothing that would stop us from doing a different type of transaction with the Network.
Can you say whether WWE plans to invest or partner with XFL in the future?

VKM: No the XFL is a separate entity completely. About 400 employees. It's completely separate.
Needham: You moved NXT off Network to pay TV... There's people clamoring for rights and that might be more valuable way to monetize. How do you feel you can take more cash from linear TV which is dying, compared to OTT which is growing but doesn't give near-term cash flow?
VKM: There are so many majors going into OTT. That's what I was referring to... It's another way for us to capitalize on our Network. There's very strong interest in all the majors on OTT.
Needham: Have you rethought putting ads on Network?

VKM says still considering if the Network stays as is.

Needham: What's taking so long for MENA and India rights? And will you be done by the end of Q1?
Riddick: In India there are regulatory changes that have complicated negotiations. MENA is due to intricacies of Saudi government and how they do business. Uncertainty is around timing and amount, not whether they'll be done.
VKM adds WWE will be announcing a deal for OTT in the first quarter if one is completed. "That's how far along we are."

Deleted previous version of this tweet for clarity.
VKM on engagement and storylines: It takes a while to put everyone in the right place, right storylines. Going into Wrestlemania we think we have exactly what we want.
Lightshed: Would keep Network for DTC relationship and data collection. Is that important to you?
VKM: When you're playing with some of the majors [OTT players] it depends on negotiation. if we could keep it [WWE Network], absolutely.

Lightshed: Is WWE Network a must have for you?

VKM: Nothing is a must have. We'll deal with what's available.
VKM says WWE's financial outlook is conservative. "If any one of these deals takes place, it's gonna be a big deal. It's gonna transformative."
VKM: "This would be our most premium content that would be available" to majors.

Again, seems WWE is referring to possibility of selling PPVs to major streaming services.
How has free tier for WWE Network performed?

Riddick: It was launched in December and it's too early to say what the results are. We'll continue to analyze. When we feel like we have good data, we'll put that out there.

VKM: Again, it was a soft launch.
Citi: Investors are nervous about X factors. Can you address some things: Anything related to the XFL? Is there anything in the Fox and Comcast agreement that's not a fixed payment? Some sort of flexible payment depending on viewership?
VKM: No the contracts are what they are. That's not to say that we couldn't do more programming with them or others.

There's concern your investment in XFL will somehow get swirl up in WWE.

VKM: No. There's none of that. We have 400 employees over there. It's run by itself.
Riddick: There's no plan to put XFL back into WWE.
Riddick clarifies VKM was referring to "transformative" OTT deal, not that the India or MENA rights deals would be transformative .
How has AEW changed your content and business.

VKM: AEW has not changed our content at all... We don't need more "edgy" content. PG. One of the few programs out there that really is PG. As far as NXT, we're competing. NXt is competing on Wednesday night and doing extremely well.
Is talent pay based on percentage of revenue? Has that cost gone up?

VKM: It's mostly revenue increasing. We've always done percentages with talent. So talent cost has gone up and we're sort of proud of it.
Any changes to how Vince spends his time upcoming?

VKM: I have pretty broad shoulders and I can handle a lot.
Why has international attendance been trailing NA attendance?

Riddick: It's really mix in venue, mix of country and venue. There's nothing fundamentally different between US and international at this point.
WWE has always had a unique corporate structure. What would you like the C suites to look like and how long will it take?
VKM: In terms of reimagining our culture in the way we do business, it's going to be very inclusive. Attracting world class individuals to our company. I mean who wouldn't want to work for WWE? I mean come on... It won't take us long to implement all that.
Could you be more explicit with any disagreements on strategy you have had with former team members?

VKM: A lot of it was execution. Focus as well. Reallocation of resources. The way we do business, it's going to be different. And more successful as well.
VKM emphatically clarifies XFL is a "totally separate" entity.
Lightshed: Were any WWE Network profits excluded from guidance?

Riddick: We didn't assume that any strategy options would impact guidance.

Lightshed: So you're assuming it's a contributor?

Riddick: Correct. But [not assuming] any new deal.
Lightshed: Can you explain who is going to fill George and Michelle's roles. Are you bringing in additional senior executives or are leaders going take on additional responsibilites?

VKM: We're in search now. At the same time, we have huge faith in our current management team.
The call has ended. Thanks for following along!

I'll be on with @POSTWrestling later today.
@POSTwrestling With the call ended, WWE stock is down 12% at the moment.

Additional info will be learned from the annual report which I expect to be published later today.
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Brandon Thurston

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!