WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2013. Revenues totaled $124.0 million as compared to $123.1 million in the prior year quarter. Operating income was $6.1 million as compared to $16.0 million in the prior year quarter. Net income was $3.0 million, or $0.04 per share, as compared to $15.3 million, or $0.20 per share, in the prior year quarter. Excluding items that impacted comparability on a year-over-year basis, Adjusted Operating income was $7.4 million as compared to $16.8 million in the prior year quarter, and Adjusted Net income was $3.9 million, or $0.05 per share, as compared to $11.7 million, or $0.16 per share, in the prior year quarter. On an "As Reported" basis, the performance of a recent movie release resulted in increased film impairment charges, which were a significant component of the decline in first quarter earnings. Excluding the impact of these charges and a net positive impact from the transition to a new video game licensee, the decline in Adjusted Operating income reflected investments in content production, including talent and staff costs, lower profits from Home Entertainment and lower sales of licensed products. The investments support the company's long-term growth objectives. "Adjusted" earnings also declined due to an increase in the effective tax-rate.
Vince McMahon had the following to say…
"In the first quarter, our performance reflected investments to enhance our brand strength, which we view as a critical determinant of our long-term growth. Operating metrics such as pay-per-view buys and live event attendance, which are key leading indicators, continued to show improvement. Demonstrating the ongoing demand for WWE content, we successfully staged WrestleMania in April, which attracted more than 80,000 fans and is expected to deliver more than one million pay-per-view buys globally, ranking the event as the highest grossing and most profitable pay-per-view event in our history. Looking ahead, we are confident that we can leverage this demand to transform our business."