At the annual ROTH Capital Partners meeting for potential investors in California, WWE CFO George Barrios spoke about the WWE Network delay and more. Here are the highlights…
On WWE's Upcoming Goals: "Three things that we are maniacally focused on over the next two to three years - the launch of a potential premium Network both domestically and outside the U.S., renewal of our four key TV agreements, and being able to monetize that massive social audience."
On Why The Launch of The Network Has Been So Delayed: "I wish I could answer it other than to say it's a tough discussion with all of the MVPDs (potential cable & satellite distributors)," Barrios said. "You're talking about an industry that for the first time ever, last year, there were fewer multi-channel homes than the year before. First time ever. So, right now, that creates an environment that's not the most positive in the MVPD community. So, we don't want to do a deal that we're going to regret."
On Negotiating New Contracts Over the Next Few Years: "Those four contracts two years from today will be new contracts, and we believe the rising value of content augers well for us. We have done a lot of math," Barrios said. "We looked at some top scripted programs and the cost to produce them, and we also looked at the recent sports deals that have been signed. We calculated a per-viewer rate and we liked what we found. We sit interestingly right between scripted entertainment and sports because we're live or plausibly-live, so we're DVR-proof and we create a lot of content."
On Their Goals: "If you want to keep track on us over the next 18 months to see if we're delivering, it's announcements on those (TV) renewals, it's getting a Network carriage agreement - once you get the first one, that creates the momentum for future, but you need to get the first one - announcements and monetization of those digital products, and turning films from a drag on the financials into something that's (beneficial)."