WWE issues detailed financial results for 2018 Q4 and full year 2018 including WWE Network subs, Live Event revenue


PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

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WWE released the latest financial information including the first details of the fourth quarter of 2018 plus the full year 2018 results.

Regarding quarter four, they touted revenue increasing 29 percent to $272.5 million with operating income nearly doubling to $53.4 million, up from $27.00 the prior year.

They also highlighted that WWE Network’s average paid subscribers in Q4 increased 7 percent for 2018 compared to 2017, up to 1.59 million, which was consistent with WWE’s guidance to investors.

For all of 2018, revenue increased 16 percent to $930.2 million, the highest in WWE history. Operating income increased 51 percent to a record $114.5 million.

They also highlighted that the new TV deals, effective Oct. 1, 2019 with Fox and USA Network will increase revenue annually an average of 3.6 times the prior deal.

They didn’t shy away from touting the “new, large-scale international events” in Saudi Arabia, noting that the Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel, along with Australia’s Super Show-down.

Digital views were up 57 percent to 31.4 billion, and hours consumed increased 77 percent to 1.2 bullion (a key reason PPVs are so much longer now is that bragging point).

Their effective tax rate dropped to 23% from 80% due to President Trump’s corporate tax break called “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017” which was passed in December 2017.

The following are a few key observations not specifically highlighted in their press release…

WWE Network revenue increased from 190.6 million to 199.3 million from 2017 to 2018.
WWE TV rights fees specifically jumped from 244.3 million to 269.8 million.
Live event ticket revenue went from 112.0 million in 2017 down to 105.4 million in 2018.
There were 18 fewer events in 2018 than 2017 and lower attendance at the Royal Rumble (based on capacity of venue).
International ticket sales were down to 22.3 million from 31.7 million the prior year, and North American ticket sales were down to 105.4 million from 112.0 million the year before.

When looking ahead to 2019, they issued this strategy statement:

Management believes that increasing fan engagement over the next few years can enhance WWE’s brand value and strengthen the Company’s ability to optimize the value of its content over the long-term. Given the potential magnitude of this opportunity and its importance to long-term growth, the Company plans to continue to invest in content, digitization and international development. Key areas of investment for 2019 include strengthening WWE’s talent base, delivering more localized content, developing the next iteration of the WWE Network service, and leveraging fan data to improve business performance.



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