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WWE report strong 2020 Q2 results despite coronavirus pandemic

By Raja
Vince McMahon (image courtesy WWE.com)

Bengaluru, July 31: WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon alongside Interim Chief Financial Officer Frank Riddick, and Senior Vice-president Financial Planning & Investor Relations Michael Weitz hosted the Second Quarter 2020 Earnings call from the WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Despite a global pandemic going on, WWE reported strong earning.

Overall revenues decreased 17% to $223.4 million from $268.9 million in 2019's second quarter due to decreased sales of tickets and merchandise, caused by the cancellation, postponement, and relocation of live events. Public health concerns remained the priority related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

It should be noted that WWE was able to host a Saudi Arabia show, last year this time around that poured in millions of dollars, which was not the case, this year. But they still managed to show an operating income of $55.7 million in comparison to the $17.1 million in the first quarter.

Additionally, they launched the free version of the WWE Network and also expanded the video content library. WWE Network subscribers declined 1.5% to 1.66 million subscribers whereas the paid subscribers are up 6% to 1.69 million.

It was duly noted that the company has adopted cost-cutting techniques that helped them going through a turbulent created by the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are the highlights from 2020's second-quarter earnings call,

* Revenues were $223.4 million as compared to $268.9 million in the prior-year quarter reflecting the timing of the Company's large-scale event in Saudi Arabia; Revenues reached a record $514.4 million year-to-date, representing 14% growth from the prior-year period

* Operating income was $55.7 million as compared to $17.1 million in the prior-year quarter

* Adj. OIBDA increased to $73.5 million from $34.6 million in the prior-year quarter

* Free Version of WWE Network was announced on June 1, unlocking a portion of WWE's content library to expand reach and engagement of its direct-to-consumer streaming service for all fans

* WWE Network average paid subscribers declined 1.5% to 1.66 million while ending paid subscribers increased 6% to 1.69 million

* Digital video views increased 10% to a record 9.9 billion and hours consumed increased 15% to a record 374 million across digital and social media platforms

* eCommerce revenues nearly doubled to $12.6 million, substantially offsetting the loss of venue merchandise sales with 76 fewer events in the quarter

"Our second-quarter financial performance was strong and demonstrated our ability to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19," stated Vince McMahon during the press release. "We continue to adapt our business to the changing environment, focusing on the development of new content for global distribution platforms and increasing audience engagement to drive growth and value for our shareholders."

WWE mentioned how they are taking advantage of the strong engagement of fans on their digital platforms, especially the WWE Network. They pulled a record WrestleMania Week viewership with nearly 1 billion video views across all the digital and social platforms, which was up 20% from last year.

Vince McMahon pointed out the hiring of Kristina Salen as WWE's new Chief Financial Officer. He said they believe to have the right-most team in place for the future.

WWE produced 600 hours of content in the second quarter while saving cost in production costs by filming from the WWE Performance Center due to the coronavirus situation. The only headache is that ratings are down by 19% for RAW and 15% for SmackDown which was caused by the pandemic, as per the officials.

But WWE NXT and RAW were still the first and third highest-rated shows on the USA Network. They plan to counter the drowning of rating problems with their constantly evolving strategies.

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Story first published: Friday, July 31, 2020, 12:37 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 31, 2020
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