Vince McMahon Comments on WWE Network Growth, More on Numbers from Post-WrestleMania Call
As noted, WWE held a post-WrestleMania 33 conference call on Monday and announced that the WWE Network now has 1.949 million subscribers with 1.661 million being paid subscribers. The total number of domestic subscribers is 1.452 million with 1.257 million of those being paid and there are 497,000 international Network subscribers with 424,000 of those being paid.
WWE issued the following on the Network numbers with comments from Vince McMahon, who did not participate in Monday’s call:
WWE® Network Breaks Record with Nearly 2 Million Subscribers
STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that its digital subscription service, WWE Network, reached a record 1.95 million total subscribers following last night’s WrestleMania®.1 This is a 7% increase from April 4th, 2016, the day after WrestleMania last year.
“Results today demonstrate that we are effectively executing our multi-platform content strategy,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “WWE Network continues to drive transformative growth for our company and is a key element of our global content ecosystem, which includes traditional television, digital and social platforms and our direct-to-consumer service (WWE Network).”
“With nearly 2 million total subscribers, more households than ever before watched WrestleMania on WWE Network,” said George Barrios, WWE Chief Strategy & Financial Officer. “Given the ongoing strong growth of WWE Network, we continue to expect record subscriber levels and record revenue in 2017 as we achieve targeted record profits.”
WWE Network Subscriber Highlights
* WWE Network reached record levels of total subscribers, total domestic subscribers and total international subscribers as of April 3, 2017
* Total domestic subscribers increased 4% to 1.45 million; total international subscribers increased 15% to 497,000 from April 4, 2016 – the day after WrestleMania last year
* Paid subscribers reached 1.66 million (+14%), including 1.24 million domestic (+12%) and 424,000 international (+23%) subscribers as of April 3, 2017
WrestleMania Engagement Milestones
* WrestleMania broke the attendance record for the Orlando Citrus Bowl with 75,245 fans from all 50 States and 62 countries. As part of the week-long WrestleMania celebration, WWE will have an unprecedented five consecutive nights of sellouts at the Citrus Bowl and Amway Center
* WWE Network subscribers viewed 22.5 million hours during WrestleMania Week or 13 hours per subscriber during the week. This compares to 21.7 million hours last year, a 4% year-over-year increase
* For the first time, WrestleMania was made available in China on a pay-per-view basis via PPTV’s digital platform
* Digital and social media video views reached 133 million (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube), representing a 105% increase over last year
* WrestleMania garnered a record 18 million social media fan engagements4, up 66% from the prior year
WWE 2017 Perspective
Q1 2017: Based upon preliminary data to date, WWE Network attracted an average of approximately 1.49 million paid subscribers over the first-quarter 2017, representing a 16% increase from the first-quarter 2016 average. The first-quarter 2017 average was in-line with guidance of 1.48 million (+/- 2%).5
During the first quarter 2017, the rise in WWE’s stock price resulted in an increase in stock compensation expense. Based on this increase and the timing of other items impacting our results, the Company currently expects (subject to the completion of its quarterly close process) that its Adjusted OIBDA for the first quarter 2017 will be $3 million to $5 million below the previously estimated range of $23 million to $27 million.The Company anticipates that these timing elements will reverse over the coming months and is maintaining its full year Adjusted OIBDA target.
WWE is unable to provide a reconciliation of first quarter guidance to GAAP measures as, at this time, WWE cannot accurately determine all of the adjustments that would be required. The Company is evaluating certain items for the first quarter 2017 including film impairments which (subject to the completion of its quarterly close process) may result in reconciling adjustments. Further information regarding such reconciliations can be found on page 6 of this release.
Q2 2017: If the acquisition and retention of subscribers driven by WrestleMania is consistent with the subscriber activity associated with the prior year event, the range of average paid subscribers for the second quarter 2017 would be 1.63 million (+/- 2%), representing an increase of approximately 8% from the second quarter 2016.5 As future subscriber performance may differ from prior activity, this range is provided for perspective rather than as guidance.
2017: WWE management continues to expect the Company to achieve another year of record revenue and has targeted Adjusted OIBDA of $100 million, which would be an all-time record (up approximately 25% from 2016 Adjusted OIBDA of $80.1 million).6
(1) Total subscribers following WrestleMania exclude pay-per-view buys with cable and satellite providers.
(2) Metrics reflect subscribers who are direct customers of WWE Network and subscribers reported under licensed partner agreements, which have different economic terms for the network. The impact of these subscribers on WWE Network results is reflected in the network’s average revenue per subscriber (ARPU).
(3) Additional information regarding WWE Network subscriber levels can be found in the Company’s website presentation at corporate.wwe.com/investors.
(4) Social media fan engagements are defined as the cumulative fan response to WWE content measured by the number of likes, comments, shares, reactions, mentions, favorites, screenshots and replies across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
(5) Additional information regarding estimated WWE Network subscriber levels can be found in the Company’s website presentation at corporate.wwe.com/investors.
(6) WWE is unable to provide a reconciliation of forward looking guidance to GAAP measures as, at this time, WWE cannot accurately determine the adjustments that would be required. Further information regarding such reconciliations can be found on page 6 of this release.