WWE CFO Talks How The Network Can Transform WWE, New Stars, Take Two, New 15-Part Series

WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios participated in the Citi Global Consumer Conference for investors earlier today in New York, NY. He took questions after his presentation, here are some highlights from the Q&A:

- They recently stated that they hope to triple earnings by 2015. This is driven by three factors, which consume 80% of his time: the launch of the network, four key content agreements and monetizing their digital products.

- The Network is "somewhat of a game changer" at a price point of $12.99 - $14.99 with 2 million subscribers. At 3-4 million, it will "completely transform the company."

- Their two most profitable assets, RAW and SmackDown, have four agreements coming up: two in the U.S., one in the UK and one in India. They have delivered a lot of value to their partners in those markets and believe there is an opportunity there.

- He said that their digital audience is engaged with them and they are finding ways to monetize that.

- They will be vocal about achievements, and will announce new deals, renewals and partnerships. Under 18 months, they will be under new content agreements for RAW and SmackDown.

- As for the Network, he said it's up to them announcing carriage agreements. They have been working with carriers for the last 12-18 months and are making progress on tough discussions with them. They are also looking at potential launches internationally. The numbers mentioned earlier (2 million subscribers) are based on a fully distributed system in the U.S.

- They have had about 5 million downloads of their app, and they have launched other digital games, like Rockpocalypse. They are learning in that area, and are looking to grow.

- They plan to grow internationally, and noted how strong their TV is in India, however they have made little money on consumer products in that country. They have introduced new consumer products in India, and are working on changing their price point for products there.

- Video game sales have declined, and they found another partner in Take Two after THQ went bankrupt. He said that ratings for games tie into sales, and they like Take Two's focus on quality. They feel like they have a lot of opportunity with their partnership with Take Two.

- The program grid for the network will center around their monthly pay-per-views, and they will create retrospective content from their library. That includes creating stories from past eras, and not just running old footage. They created a 15-episode series called "The Monday Night War" which will look at in-and-out of the ring stories during the Monday Night Wars. He noted that the series tested really well. He said that they know they can create reality series, as is evident by the Total Divas reality series on E!. He feels that the price for the Network will be more appealing to fans than the current PPV price of $45 or $55 monthly, which is tough for a large audience to consume.

- In regards to stars, he believes they are on the upswing. He said that there is talent like John Cena and The Undertaker who are core, iconic talent. They have introduced a lot of new talent in the last year, and 7 new talents were at WrestleMania that never appeared at the event before, which they said was a key metric to them. He said that while they're not at the apex in terms of creating new stars, they're on the upswing.

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