WWE reports first quarter results

Yesterday in Stamford, Conn., Linda McMahon announced the financial results for WWE's first quarter. During the conference call presentation of the results, McMahon stated that she was pleased with the company's financial results and the upward trends in key performance metrics.

"One of the more significant items in our live and televised businesses for the quarter was the increase in pay-per-view buys. Each of the pay-per-view events produced in the quarter either met or exceeded the buys from the prior year," said McMahon. "Another significant item was an increase in average attendance at our live events, as the average attendance at both our North American and International live events was better than anticipated and surpassed last year's average by more than 18 percent."

Mrs. McMahon continued, "Regarding the branded merchandise businesses, our licensing programs continue to expand internationally with significantly better than anticipated sales in the toy and novelty categories. Our home video business also out-performed our estimates due in part to the success of our WrestleMania 21 title, which sold approximately 202,000 DVD units to date in the U.S. alone, making it one of our all-time best sellers. These really show that our continued investment in areas such as global expansion and talent development are beginning to yield positive returns."

After the presentation, McMahon fielded a variety of calls in the question-and-answer segment. Many interesting topics were touched on:

RAW's move to USA
While WWE had a great partnership with Spike TV, the company is excited about the move back to USA. Not only does USA have a greater penetration into households, but the move is a homecoming of sorts, as WWE was on the network for 17 years before moving to Spike TV. In addition to RAW, a Saturday morning WWE program will also air on USA.

SmackDown's move to Friday nights
WWE sees SmackDown's move to Friday nights as a great opportunity to attract new viewers. The company feels that while MLB's post season may impact the numbers initially, the move will end up being a positive one for both WWE and UPN.

The Marine
Fans can expect to see The Marine within the first six months of 2006. Several new scenes for the movie were recently re-shot in order to achieve a PG-13 rating. The movie is now in its final editing stages.

The Condemned
WWE is in the final stages of negotiations with a distribution partner for the movie. Once that is done, pre-production will proceed.

WWE is seeing some good generation of revenue, which is an indication of not only an increase in unique visitors, but also the conversion of these visitors into WWEShop.com.

Legends Program
WWE has signed more than 60 former Superstars to its Legends Program. These Superstars are being used for such things as action figures, video games and personal appearances.

WWE Library
WWE has more than 75,000 hours of footage in its library, and it's growing with each week. There is one large library and several smaller libraries the company is currently interested in.

Syndicated Programs
Rather than continuing to syndicate programming, WWE will focus more attention on creating original programming for WWE.com and 24/7.

Taboo Tuesday
It is believed that the intense MLB post season last year may have negatively effected the number of buys for the Taboo Tuesday pay-per-view.

Pay-Per-View Buys
When asked about the high number of buys for the Vengeance pay-per-view, Linda McMahon noted that there was great interest going into the event. Additionally, the Hell in a Cell Match helped attract even more viewers.

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