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> Expenses when it came to television, network and PPV were $118.5 million, down from $170.1 million for the same period last year, or a savings in the quarter alone of $51.6 million. That right there is the profit margin and then some. Everything else is almost immaterial. As far as total revenue, Network plus PPV numbers declined from $51.8 million to $49.4 million. That’s due to a decline in PPV and a slight decline in average subs during the quarter. But the end of the quarter was up from last year so that should be ahead of last year in the next quarter report. The new deals led to television rights increasing from $69.0 million last year in quarter two to $132.9 million this year. Television advertising and sponsorships fell from $18.9 million to $13.3 million.
> As far as ratings are concerned, as compared to last year, Raw in quarter two was down from 2,403,000 viewers to 1,838,000, or 23.5 percent. Keep in mind that this was mostly the Heyman period and since then, after the two weeks of nostalgia bumps, ratings have declined significantly from even that figure. USA Network declined 25.9 percent, but keep in mind most of those declines were a combination of the Raw decline and losing Smackdown. If you take both Raw and Smackdown out of the mix in quarter two last year, the USA Network averaged 699,000 viewers. If you take Raw and NXT out of the mix this year, the average is 648,000. So NXT is doing roughly the prime time average for the network. Actual comparisons to the real USA Network decline not related to WWE is 7.3 percent, so it’s not similar to the Raw decline even though WWE using honest statistics would give you the impression both declines are basically identical.
> Cable as a whole was down 0.8 percent from last year during the same quarter. If you figure that ESPN is usually the No. 1 non-news station and they had almost no live sports, as did all the other sports networks, cable would have likely been significantly up had their still been live sports. Smackdown last year on USA averaged 2,009,000 viewers in quarter two. This year on FOX it grew 4.5 percent to 2,099,000. But that’s with adding 33.7 percent more homes available and being on a far stronger platform. Any increase of less than 30 percent has to be considered a failure in the move from USA to FOX.
> The FOX Network fell four percent, but if you take out the Friday drop from last year, they’d actually be pretty much equal. Network television as a whole dropped 12 percent from the same period last year. Again, much of that decline would be the absence of things like the NCAA basketball tournament, Baseball season and the NBA playoffs. The decline sounds like less watching television due to the pandemic, and technically that is true, but it’s because of fewer first run shows and no sports.
> Last year, in a quarter that included WrestleMania, and all the Mania activities, the live event profits were $12.4 million. This year running no shows, due to various deals and money and advertising costs of shows that didn’t happen, the live events division lost $4.5 million. Profits from consumer products increased from $5.2 million in last year’s second quarter to $7.6 million.
> Licensed products, like video games, console games and mobile games saw revenue increase in the quarter from $9.4 million last year to $9.7 million, an increase seemingly having to do with people home more and playing more games. The industry as a whole has grown during the pandemic. In addition, WWE received revenue from certain WWE talent being used in other video games such as King of Fighters All-Star. The mobile games, WWE Supercard and WWE Champions, had 15 percent revenue growth over the same period last year.
> Merchandise sold through the web site increased from $6.6 million to $12.6 million, both increases being examples of the pandemic helping WWE business. A key to the increases was collectibles, notably six new championship belts, notably a Rock Brahma Bull title and a HHH signature title belt.
> The company currently has $547.9 million in cash on hand, the most it has ever had.
> Plans for a multi-tiered WWE Network, which had been talked about for years, and which would have included usage of the tape libraries of a number of independent promotions, including wXw, Evolve, ICW and Progress, that has been on-and-off for years, is back off. Regarding whether that content would be used on the paid tier, those decisions have gone back-and-forth for years and every time the decision has been made to do so, Vince McMahon in the end has changed his mind on it.
> At the 7/16 WWE shareholders meeting, when discussing the network, the company announced the free tier, which has the goal of trying to use that tier to convert viewers to becoming paid subscribers, has replaced multi-tiers and higher priced tiers giving more content and benefits in the WWE’s network strategy.
> In responding to a question from stockholders, Frank Riddick said (transcribed by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics), “The free version of the Network was launched June 1st as a platform that was designed to effectively convert viewers to subscribers while preserving the value of our premium content. Given this was just launched in June, we have positive early results, but nothing definitive. Given where we are and we believe that, ultimately, by enhancing engagement we’ll enhance the value of the Network, as well as the economic potential we may be able to realize in a future transaction.”
> “Payment tiers at this time, we do not believe the development of a premium tiered content strategy is the optimum approach for maximizing network subscription value,” said Riddick, who had been the interim Chief Financial Officer since George Barrios was fired. “In the near term, we’re focused on leveraging the free version that we just spoke about to enable subscribers to sample our content more easily, develop local currency pricing in select international markets in global currency, as we said, and further develop our advertising capability.”
> They also noted having regionalized versions of the WWE Network for certain markets that would be broadcast in the native language and as noted above, using that country’s currency to subscribe.
> An obvious question is the return of live events, or even the question of WrestleMania 2021 in Inglewood, CA, and like everything, including a potential closing in Orlando, there are no answers. The reality is things aren’t going back to normal any time soon. A closing in Orlando is very unlikely to happen for the political reasons it opened up in the first place and the government turned a blind eye to all those tapings with no testing for months. WrestleMania is far enough in the future that perhaps there may be a vaccine, but from a timing standpoint, that’s a longshot. Many have speculated on the idea that Florida, even though it’s in bad shape, would welcome a WrestleMania more than California would, and Tampa in a sense is owed one. And ultimately, these decisions do have to be made in the next few months because if they are going to do a stadium event, they need to be able to start promoting it by the end of this year.
> “Sure, we obviously have to follow what’s going on and sometimes you think you have the answer and then, `Uh oh,’ COVID-19 makes a more severe impact than you had imagined to begin with,” said Vince McMahon. “We’re working with arenas. We have any number of tentative dates. Those tentative dates keep moving back sometimes. But again with our form of entertainment, it’s imperative that we have fans to interact with. And we continue to look forward. Pinpointing exactly when we’re going to return, it’s a whole different atmosphere than has been in the past and we’ll capitalize on it.”