WWE reports decrease in net revenue

MUMBAI: The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has reported that net revenues for the fourth quarter ended 30 April 2005 have fallen to $118.3 million as compared to $126.7 million in the same quarter for 2004.

Operating income for the quarter was also down at $22.5 million versus $32.8 million in the prior year's quarter. One reason is that there were fewer pay per view (PPV) buys in the quarter. There were three PPV events in 2005 as opposed to four in the 2004 quarter.

Operating income for the year was $50.3 million versus $73.6 million in the prior year. Net income was $39.1 million as compared to $48.2 million in 2004.

PPV revenues were $34.6 million versus $43.7 million in the prior year quarter. Revenues from the branded merchandise segment were $20.8 million versus $25.7 million in the prior year quarter. Home video revenues were $5.1 million as compared to $11.1 million in the prior year quarter. Licensing revenues held steady at $3.7 million for both quarters. Publishing revenues increased to $3.6 million as compared to $3.1 million in the prior year.

The company states that international events that it holds were among the highlights. The big event was WrestleMania 21. The WWE produced 23 international live events in Asia, Australia and Europe. The fourth quarter concluded with a soldout international tour playing 14 live events before more than 100,000 people in the UK, Italy, Germany and Ireland.

In India WWE action airs on Ten Sports. WrestleMania 21 achieved an estimated 983,000 pay-per-view buys, an 11 per cent increase from the WrestleMania XX buys recorded in the fourth quarter of 2004.

WWE CEO Linda McMahon said, “Our fourth quarter results demonstrated the continued appeal of WrestleMania and that we have made significant strides to solidify our global presence in closing out fiscal 2005. We have established an ongoing presence in key territories such as the UK, Australia, Italy and Japan and can now more fully leverage our various business lines in these regions.

"In 2006, our focus will be on new and emerging businesses, such as our WWE 24/7 SVOD service, the expansion of our digital media product, theatrical films through WWE Films, and our new WWE Legends initiative that uses former Superstars as the basis for new product lines and activities. All these provide new opportunities to expand the WWE brand to new fans, and to reconnect with casual and former fans.

"On the international front, we will continue our expansion and plan to bring our live event tours to new territories including New Zealand and Central America. On the domestic front, we are excited about the move of our flagship cable programme Raw, to its new home on the USA Network in October, and the opportunities afforded by the move of SmackDown!to Friday nights on UPN.”

International events averaged approximately $698,000 in net revenues and averaged approximately $202,500 in profit contribution during the current quarter. This is compared to domestic event net revenues that averaged approximately $252,200 and averaged approximately $68,200 in profit contribution during this same period.

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