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Recap of WWE’s second quarter 2017 earnings conference call featuring Vince McMahon



WWE held their second quarter 2017 earnings conference call on Thursday that featured Michael Weitz (Investor Relations), George Barrios (Chief Financial Officer) and Vince McMahon (CEO & Chairman). Here are the highlights.

--- The conference call opens with Weitz welcoming everyone to the call and runs through the earnings.

--- McMahon got on the call and stated that they had been pleased with their earnings. He noted that revenue has increased 8% to a record of $214.6 million. The WWE Network had 1.63 million subscribers. He brought up the Mae Young Classic on the streaming service. He wants to grow the female base of their fans and noted that they have not done that well in the past. "Many of the [good] quarter hours [TV ratings] that we see in television reflect our women superstars,” McMahon said. He ran through the social media numbers, which were up to 19% from the second quarter last year.

--- Barrios started going through the financial highlights. The media revenue was up 13% from the second quarter last year. They had $132.2 million in the division. Live event revenue was $52.8 million, which is 2% down from the second quarter in 2016. Barrios was speaking loudly into the phone and running through the numbers quickly.

--- Now Michelle Wilson is on the call and recapped programs on the WWE Network. She also brought up WWE shows in India and the Middle East. The Bella Twins’ YouTube channel has exceeded 750,000 subscribers, which is up 50% from the second quarter last year. She listed the new sponsors that they have. The WWE Network has produced more than 75 hours of original content. Wilson says there will be new SnapChat WWE show premiering later this year building on the success of the WrestleMania SnapChat programming.

--- Barrios is back on and projected the subscriber count for WWE Network for quarter three, which was 1.54 million. They expected to achieve record revenue, adjusted OIBDA and subscriber levels by the end of the year.

--- Weitz opened the call up for questions.

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--- When asked about Sponsorship revenue, Wilson said, "Marketplace is not as educated about that (family-friendly programming) as we hoped. We remain one of the few opportunities that's TV-PG. Brand safety has become a conversation in the marketplace."

--- When asked about updates on how localization efforts are going internationally, Barrios talks about Indian TV show in Hindi. "It's been a real big win for us." He said that the new localized Hindi-English show is the highest viewed one hour of WWE programming in India.

--- When asked about subscriber count going down each quarter, Barrios said, "We don't worry about one-quarter's number. Consistent growth over the long-term. Making the product more fun to use, smarter to communication to current/active and new subscribers has a ways to grow.”

--- When asked about possibly moving Raw and Smack to digital platforms such as Facebook. “We think about... Are our fans on those platforms? Are fans willing to consume longform content on platforms? Do I think digital player will become more realistic like traditional players? I think eventually. Our monetization of our content is the biggest opportunity to grow our revenue.” Barrios explains the reason they've invested so much in social media is to take advantage of that opportunity when/if it happens.

--- On where they stand right now with UK weekly programming, Barrios said, “We think there's a real opportunity there. We'll continue to play around with that and build on it. Big fanbase in the UK-shown a big appetite for local talent."

--- When asked about the stickiness of free trials for the WWE Network, Barrios said, "Having that promotional period is still a great tool for us - so we're going to continue to do it."

--- When asked about the new Snapchat show, Barrios said, "Predominantly it tends to be more revenue share. It's part of a broader opportunity with companies like KFC and Cricket - they're looking for cross-platform.”

This wraps up the call.