Don’t worry WWE is doing fine.
For fans predicting the demise of the largest pro wrestling promotion in history, you may want to adjust your prognostication.
Today (Feb. 7) ahead of the company’s fourth quarter earnings call to shareholders, WWE released a lengthy press release detailing record breaking earning results.
“In 2018, WWE generated the highest level of revenue and earnings in the Company’s history by leveraging our brand strength to increase the monetization of our content worldwide,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our long-term growth strategy will continue to focus on content creation, digitization and international development.”
George Barrios, WWE Co-President, added “We increased revenue by nearly $130 million, and achieved a record level of Adjusted OIBDA and network subscribers. We expect to balance 2019 revenue growth with investment in strategic areas that extend the moat around our business, enabling us to continue our business transformation and maximize shareholder value.”
With WWE’s $930.2 million in reported revenue for 2018, the company had it’s biggest financial year in it’s 38-year modern history.
Other highlights for WWE in 2018:
- International revenue increased 58% to $317.8 million from $201.3 million in 2017.
- WWE’s new TV deals with USA and Fox increased the average annual value (AAV) of its U.S. TV distribution to 3.6 times that of their prior TV deal.
- Digital engagement for WWE grew with video views up 57% to 31.4 billion and hours consumed up 77% to 1.2 billion across all of the company’s digital and social media platforms.
All these record breaking financial numbers came despite many pointing to WWE’s declining TV ratings as well as lower live attendance numbers in 2018.
Looking ahead to 2019, WWE’s goal is to reach $1 billion dollars in revenue for 2019.
The company also publicly stated that key areas investment moving forward will be “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.”
So it looks in 2019, WWE will continue to stack their main as well as NXT rosters with even more talent. In terms of delivering more localized content, this could mean WWE will continue to roll out more regional NXT brands.
As far as the “developing the next iteration of the WWE Network service”, perhaps this is another sign that fans may be getting a tiered version of the Network in 2019 or the price point may change from $9.99 in the future.
Alright Cagesiders, looking over the numbers, what do you predict for WWE’s financial future in 2019 and how will it affect fans?