WWE Q3 financials: Revenue, Network subs & attendance decrease

This story was updated at noon Eastern on Thursday.

Prior to their investors’ call Thursday morning, WWE released their 2019 Q3 numbers, showing a small year-over-year decrease in revenue to $186.3 million and 1.51 million average paid WWE Network subscribers.

As of this writing, WWE stock was down nearly 16%, trading at $55.91 a share. 

Notes and audio from today’s call can be found below. 

WWE attributed the decrease from $188.4 million a year ago to declines in live event ticket sales and merchandise offset by increase in their Media segment.

They highlighted the following quarterly highlights in their release:

$6.4 million operating income, down from $18.1 million in last year’s Q2 due to a decline in revenue and “increases in fixed costs including the impact of certain strategic investments”.
$25.4 million adjusted OBIDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) as compared to $35.8 million the year prior.
They adjusted their full year guidance of a record $180-$190 million OBIDA, down from their $200 million OBIDA forecast from last quarter. The downturn was attributed to a TV deal in the Middle East being delayed and an increased investment in content creation.
The Network subscriber drop (9%) was in line with their Q2 prediction of 1.53 million. They predicted a further drop to 1.43 million in Q4 and a year over year decline of 10%.
They said that that through the end of September, “digital video views increased 12% on a year-over-year basis to 25.6 billion and hours consumed increased 14% to 957 million hours across digital and social platforms.”

Other notes:

Live event revenue declined to $23.2 million due to “weakened performance” and fewer North American shows. Excluding NXT, there were 74 total events in Q3 (67/7 domestic to international split) compared to 90 in Q3 last year (86/4).
Their average ticket price increased by 6% to $56.64 while overall North American sales declined by $4.1 million with 19 fewer shows and lower attendance. International revenue was virtually identical.
Consumer products decreased to $17 million, down from $19.6 million last year.

Call Notes

Vince McMahon was not on the call as he’s in Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel. George Barrios did the majority of the talking.
He acknowledged reviews for WWE2K20 were mixed.
He was asked about NXT’s move from the Network to USA and the continued drive toward live rights. A question about leaving Full Sail University didn’t get answered.
They expect their India TV deal to be done by end of ’19 and gives no timeline for the Middle East deal.
Barrios believes 70% of total growth in years ahead will come outside the U.S. and both India and China are a big part of that growth.
They said investors couldn’t be guaranteed two Saudi Arabia shows per year going forward.
Network tiers were again brought up, but no timeline was announced. They see their value prop as different than HBO Max and Disney+ so there’s a not a drive to reduce the monthly cost to keep up.
They brought up “accelerated investments” in their in-ring product when asked if this year’s Crown Jewel was more expensive due to Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez. The creation of the storyline, the in-ring talent, and producing the actual content are all part of the process and all saw increases.
Asked about AEW, Barrios said there is a lot of competition for eyeballs through all media and sports entities. Their expectation is that they win.

Full audio from the call:

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