WWE Announces 2013 Q1 Results: Revenues Flat , PPV Up, Vince McMahon Comments

Our OIBDA results for the first quarter 2013 included a $4.7 million film impairment charge and an approximate $3.4 million positive impact from the transition of our video game to a new licensee. Results for the prior year quarter included a $0.8 million film impairment charge and a $4.1 million benefit due to previously unrecognized tax benefits. In order to facilitate an analysis of our financial results on a more comparable basis, where noted, we have adjusted our results to exclude these items. (See Schedule of Adjustments in Supplemental Information). The operating results above also include network-related operating expenses of $2.6 million in the current year quarter and $2.1 million in the prior year quarter, which were not adjusted in the aforementioned schedules.

Three Months Ended March 31, 2013 - Results by Region and Business Segment

Revenues of $124.0 million were essentially flat to the prior year quarter as growth from North America was offset by declines across WWE's international markets. Revenues from North America increased 5% from the prior year quarter predominantly due to the licensing of new television programs and digital content, the strong performance of our Pay-Per-View operations, and an increase in the number of domestic live events, which more than offset lower revenues from our movie business. Revenues from outside North America declined 13% primarily due to an anticipated reduction in the number of live events, lower revenue from home entertainment, as well as weaker sales of licensed products.

Live and Televised Entertainment

Revenues from our Live and Televised Entertainment businesses increased 6% to $79.9 million primarily due to the expansion of rights fees from the production and licensing of our television programs and, to a lesser extent, from an increase in Pay-Per-View revenue as described below.

Live Event revenues declined 5% to $21.0 million reflecting the timing of our Fan Axxess events, which are held annually in conjunction with WrestleMania (Fan Axxess events occurred primarily in the first quarter 2012 vs. the second quarter 2013). Excluding the impact of Fan Axxess, Live Event revenues increased slightly as an increase in the number of events in North America was nearly offset by a reduction in the number of international events and relatively weaker performance from those events.

There were 80 total events, including 77 events in North America and 3 events in international markets, in the current quarter as compared to 75 events, including 69 events in North America and 6 events in international markets in the prior year quarter.

North American events generated revenues of $20.0 million as compared to $18.9 million in the prior year quarter. The revenue growth of $1.1 million reflected the scheduling of 8 additional events in the period, partially offset by the timing of Fan Axxess, which added $1.6 million in revenue to the prior year quarter. In addition, average attendance increased 3% to approximately 6,400 and average ticket prices increased 2% to $39.40.

International events generated revenues of $1.0 million as compared to $3.3 million in the prior year quarter, reflecting a 50% decline in the number of events, with 3 fewer events in the period. In addition, average ticket prices declined 34% to $82.51 and average attendance declined 26% to approximately 2,500 from 3,400 in the prior year quarter. The declines in average ticket price and average attendance were due to weak performance in Turkey and Qatar, which are emerging WWE markets, as compared to the prior year quarter, which included an especially strong three-event tour in Abu-Dhabi.

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