WWE posts record revenue, $32.6 million in net income for 2017

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/02/09/wwe-posts-record-revenue-32-6-million-in-net-income-for-2017/

The WWE released their fourth-quarter and year-end earnings report for 2017 on Thursday.

For the quarter, the company posted revenues of $221.6 million and a net income of $4.8 million. This was offset by a $1.5 million film impairment charge.

The company announced a new company record with $801 million in total revenue with net income of $32.6 million. To compare with 2016, the company’s overall revenue was up from $729,116,000 although net income was slightly down from the $33.8 million made the year prior.

Due to the new corporate tax rate the company will receive, they did have to incur a one-time charge of $11.4 million because of the new tax law. This is broken down to $10.9 million from the remeasurement of its deferred tax assets and $400,000 for repatriation of foreign earnings.

The WWE Network ended the year with a total of 1,547,000 subscribers worldwide with 1,471,000 of those being paid subscribers. The subscribers break down to 1,159,000 from the U.S. (1,065,000 paid) and 419,000 international subscribers (406,000 paid) with the total number of free subs at 76,000.

The fourth-quarter saw 377,000 new subscribers to the network but that was offset by 413,000 cancellations for a churn of 36,000.

They are forecasting a paid subscriber number of 1.53 million for the first-quarter of 2018, which be the average as of March 31st (one week before WrestleMania, where the network should hit its peak for the year).

The earnings call primarily focused on the forthcoming television renewals and Ronda Rousey. The company repeated that they plan to announce new U.S. television rights deal between May and September of this year, a U.K. deal by the end of the year and a new deal for India in the first half of 2019.

Vince McMahon, George Barrios, and Michelle Wilson played their cards close to the vest regarding the television negotiations. McMahon chuckled when an analyst tried to pry some additional information out of them about a higher demand for the rights during this period as compared to the last time the rights were up.

Barrios and Wilson have also been promoted to co-presidents of the WWE and appointed to the company’s board of directors.

Rousey was brought up several times during the conference call and it is very rare that any analysts or even the company executives cite specific performers on these calls. Paul Levesque spoke during the call and said her contract was a “multi-year deal” with McMahon crediting Levesque and Stephanie McMahon for Rousey’s signing. It was clear during the call how big of a name Rousey is to the investor side of the company as a possible needle mover and leverage in the upcoming television negotiations.

On the Mixed Match Challenge, they promoted the success of the show but when citing the viewing data, they revealed a strange finding. Wilson cited 12 million total minutes viewed for the series with 6 million viewers and doing the simple math, that would equate to 2 minutes of average watch time for 20+ minute shows.

They will also be changing how they calculate adjusted OIBDA with the elimination of stock-based compensation expenses. With the adjusted calculation, they are projecting $140 million in adjusted OIBDA for 2018.

I don’t necessarily know that this is a strange finding. As far as I know from various scuttle from various creators I’ve seen, Facebook videos are great at counting essentially meaningless views. Videos play automatically, even live videos from creators you (and your friends) follow, and those count as views and as eyes on the material. However, if anyone decides they lose interest for a split second (as many will), they’ll simply keep scrolling. If an ad pops up (which may not be an issue for live video, I don’t know), they probably will move on and not finish a video. I think it was Youtuber CGP Grey who went into some detail about this on his podcast, talking about how Facebook videos would consistently get millions of “views” but those views were not necessarily a good measure of overall engagement. This finding really just lines up with those theories.

Wrestling company makes money…somehow wrestling fans act like they’re dying and shit. :rofl:

Well…they did cut out those expenditures for the pyro. That helps your bottom line lol

I don’t know how much of an impact Ronda Rousey will actually have in the next TV deal negotiations next year but I agree that this will certainly generate some interest from the likes of Fox Sports for instance. I think it’s gonna also depend on how well she’ll be received by the fans and if her in-ring work is at least acceptable. But yeah, that will definitely draw mainstream attention.

I doubt the in ring quality of her work or anybodies work would for that matter would impact the TV rights. It’s just the brand that a TV networks interested in and if it draws an audience.

The quality of her work impacts fan response to her. Fan response to her impacts ratings for her segments and the show as a whole. Ratings impact ad revenue that can be made, which impacts the negotiations for new TV deals…

Whether or not any of that will impact the next lot of negotiations is unclear to me though because I’m not paying attention to how long there is between now and the next deal.