Monday, June 05, 2017

WWE Demographics - Female/Male split

WWE demographics is a subject that seems to come up regularly. And the outstanding question: who is WWE targeting for their shows?

Since WWE became a publicly traded company in 1999, they have released a lot more information about their revenue streams and viewership. However, since audience demographics is not a generally accepted accounting principle, they are very inconsistent about how, when and why that information is released.

In general, we’ve seen the audience always been at least 60% male. Sometimes the female audience grows (in recent years), which I partially credit towards a greater emphasis on “serious” women’s wrestling on WWE programming along with the addition of several reality shows (Total Divas, Total Bellas) on female-centric E! network. When WWE is reporting demographic splits, they usually include all programming, or at least all programming they can use which will paint a picture of a more diverse demographic.

There has been talk lately about how a diminishing fanbase of young men has resulted in a larger proportion of female fans in the WWE Raw audience (not necessarily a larger female audience, just a larger proportion of female fans due to the attrition in men).

Here’s what I can tell you from the data I’ve seen:

(See my earlier post on this from July 2014.)

Today, WWE’s corporate webpage has a FAQ that asks, “Who watches WWE programming?” with the answer “WWE is watched by 11 million fans each week in the United State alone. Our diverse audience spans generations of fans. Approximately 36% of WWE’s audience is female and 17% are under the age of 18.”
http://corporate.wwe.com/faq

Covering period of November 2014 to September 2015, WWE broke out their audience as such:
· 63% Male / 37% Female
· 38% (50+) / 21% (35-49) / 23% (18-34) / 18% (2-17)
(Source: December 2015 WWE Investor Presentation)

For the full year 2014, WWE listed their demographics as:
· 62% Male / 38% Female
· 37% (50+) / 22% (35-49) / 22% (18-34) / 19% (2-17)
(Source: March 2015 WWE Investor Presentation)

An earlier profile from September 2012 put the demographic split as:
· 65% Male / 35% Female
· 28% (50+) / 25% (35-49) / 23% (18-34) / 24% (2-17)
· 66% White / 19% Black-AfricanAmerican / 21% Hispanic / 16% Other
(Source 2012 WWE Investor Presentation)

A January 2013 Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted that the Christmas Eve 2012 episode of Raw skewed “64% male”.

An earlier 2011 investor document lists the gender distribution as:
· 66% Male / 34% Female
· 29% (50+) / 25% (35-49) – 22% (18-34) / 24% (
(Source 2011 WWE Investor Presentation)

In terms of independent research, Scarsborough Research published research in 2013 covering “more than 200,000 US residents age 18 and older living in 77 of the country’s biggest markets” and looking at gender, age and education level for fans of Boxing, UFC and WWE. The results were summarized in the 4/22/13 issue of Sports Business Daily: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/04/22/In-Depth/Fight-fan-avidity.aspx

Gender
US Pop.
Boxing
UFC
WWE
Men
48.4%
72.4%
74.6%
62.8%
Women
51.6%
27.6%
25.4%
37.2%

According to a June 25, 2007 article called “Wrestling Marketing Muscle” in Broadcasting & Cable, in 2006, a Wake Forest University Medical Center survey found that “teens who watched wrestling, particularly females, were more prone to instigate violence when they date.”

In 2005, WWE released a “primer” about the company which summarized Nielsen Media Research as:
• 71% male/29% female
• 73% are 18 or older / 37% are between the ages of 12 and 34 / 23% are between the ages of 18 and 34 / 50% are 34 or younger / 14% are younger than age 12

Dave Meltzer notes in the Feb 18, 2002 issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the Stephanie/HHH “wedding angle” on Raw on 2/11/02 (against the Olympics) caused a large increase in female viewers while there was a huge decrease among male viewers who were likely switching to watch the Olympics. There was an interesting ratings change where the bikini contest (Stacy/Torrie) on Raw actually lost 125,000 viewers from the previous segment which Dave attributed to the greater composition of female viewers on that night.

In March 10-20, 2000, WCW commissioned a likability study of the WCW e-mail database list which was administered by LA’s Grace Market Research. They collected 1,400 completed surveys – it was 92% male / 8% female with 83% Adult / 17% non-adult. This is a similar thing that occurred with many other online surveys of wrestling fans which appear to get disproportionate response from male fans.

In 2000, according to a April 10, 2000 Advertising Age article “Wrestling has a chokehold on cable fans”, Ray Giacopelli, VP-research for USA Networks, “says WWF broadcasts skew 70/30 male-female, and Jim Rotshchild, WWF’s senior VP-sales, says females are the WWF’s fastest-growing audience segment”.

A June 1999 article in “Discount Merchandiser” quotes WWF’s Jim Bell (SVP of Licensing & Merchandising at WWF) that “WWF's wrestlers target a more pin-pointed audience, namely, young males and some females in their mid-teens and up. Rather than focusing on superheroes, WWF shows have their feet planted firmly in a reality that evokes strong emotions. In the 1980s, however, WWF went after a more varied "family" audience. "When it was family entertainment, it was a softer show" he says. "We were trying to be everything to everybody." Most changes have taken place over the last 18 to 24 months. “

In April 1991, Skip Desjardin, the “manager of PPV marketing for Titan’s World Wrestling Federation” claimed in an article with Multichannel News that, We're going after more family-oriented demographics," he said. "Whereas boxing, I believe, attracts a male demographic, we've found that 52 percent of our viewers are female." (I would strongly challenge the validity of this number.)

In the March 4, 1991 Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer had an interview in Nye Lavalle who is a manager at SMG (The Sports Marketing Group) who designed a survey in November 1989 for 2,060 men & women, all 18+ from 175 key areas. It equated WWF with “pro wrestling” throughout the article. It noted that “pro wrestling as the most disliked sport of the 114 different sports listed in the survey”. Lavalle noted to Meltzer that: “WWF wrestling is twice as popular among males as it is among females, which as far as sports goes, is not a bad ratio. In comparison, boxing is four times as popular among males, as is auto racing, while boat racing is nearly five times as popular among males and NFL football, which was the most popular sport in the United States, was three times as popular among males. The two-to-one ratio pro wrestling has is very similar to the male-female ratio of the NBA and Major League Baseball. Sports like gymnastics and figure skating, both of which did surprisingly well in the survey, both have a two-to-one popularity in favor of women; while Pro. Beach Volleyball was the closest sport to having a 50-50 ratio.”

In 1989, Steve Beverly, editor of the then pro-wrestling newsletter Matwatch, wrote a thesis at Auburn University about pro-wrestling called, “A HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING AS TELEVISION PROGRAMMING FROM: 1941-1989”. He talks a lot of female viewership of pro-wrestling talking about announce Castleman talking to housewives in the audience in the 1948 DuMont programming and the female audience attention that showman Gorgeous George received (similar to Liberace’s popularity) garnered.

This is something I'll continue to dig into and document over time.

-Chris Harrington, Wrestlenomics Radio.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

WWE CFO George Barrios at JPMorgan Global Technology Media and Telecom Conference


You are listening to a recorded webcast of the presentation originally presented Monday, May 22, 2017 at 9:20 AM .



George Barrios "takes lead on Strategy, Finance, Technology and Business Development"

In 2016, record revenue for the company - about $190 million outside of North America. It's all part of the continuing transformation of the underlying business model.

5 years ago: About 5% came through digital platform; today about 1/3 does.
10 years ago: 10-15% was "direct to consumer", today about "half revenue"

Tripling revenues outside North America.


A little bit more digital
A little bit more direct to consumer

About 2/3 come from media and 1/3 is tickets & consumer products

Media EcoSystem: Three Pillars

1. Social & digital platform [YouTube is dominant AVOD platform; WWE is #1 sports channel with NBA as #2; more consumption that FIFA/Olympics]
2. Traditional TV [600m homes around the world; 5b hours consumed; 5hrs live weekly; 260hrs annually; partners NBCU/USA; BSkyB in UK; Ten Sports/Sony in India; OSN in Middle East - India is largest market; #2 is US and South Africa is #3)
3. Direct to Consumer delivery

From a consumption standpoint, on traditional TV, India is our largest market; number two market is the US and number three market is South Africa, in terms of average viewers.

In our "direct to consumer", our most premium content (our playoffs) - storylines culminate and championships change hands. Reality series & animation.

We're almost at 8,000 hours of content available to our "most passionate fans".

DTC network is where we "super-serve our most passionate fans."
Large platform on AVOD. Continue to be a big deliverer of eyeballs on pay TV.
We’re now the 5th largest direct to consumer video service in the United States.
That gives you some context.

Questions by David Karnovsky (Media, J.P. Morgan)

(4:00) Q: Let’s start on the Network. You provided a long-term target, I think, of three to four million subs. Where are you on the way to the goal and what are the catalysts to get you there?
A: One of the things we look at, and it’s public information. When we launched, we did a lot of primary research to say, “How big do we think the opportunity can be?” And what we thought globally was three to four million subscribers.

I don't know if everyone remembers, when Netflix their SVOD service and they were migrating from the DVD business, they actually set a long-term target for themselves in terms of US subscribers, kind of say in the long arc of time they could get to 60 million to 90 million subs; they're around 80% there to the 60m after eight years almost. We're three years in and we're just over 52% to the low end of our range of three million, so that's where we stand today. The business continues to grow year-over-year and we'll continue to invest it in and push it forward.

(5:10) Q: For background, for those less familiar, who is the fan who is using the WWE Network? How is it that you manage the content there to ensure that you're not cannibalizing one of your other video windows?
A: Yeah. It’s really important. There's players out there, and it's not about good or bad strategy, it's just different on depending on where you sit, they’re players out there who say, "I'm going to put it all direct to consumer, I’m going to put that same content on Pay TV and put similar on AVOD-support" - it’s the same content on the three platforms. That works for them.

For us, we have different content on three platforms as you were getting to.

You can enjoy a lot of WWE on AVOD, you can enjoy a lot of WWE on Pay TV and we always say the Network is for the superfan - it's not for every WWE fan - and there you get everything WWE including our most premium content, what we used to called the pay-per-views which isn’t available anywhere else. And that’s how we tier our content and that tiering word is really important internally.

We talked about this digital and direct-to-consumer transformation…

If you went back six years ago, if we created a piece of video, there was only one way to get it to a fan. We had to partner with a network and we had to create multiple partnerships to reach globally, in a capacity-constrained environment because of linear television (24 hours) - and then if we get that working, we'd deliver that video.

Today, I can do that and I can also put a piece of video into any broadband-enabled home in the world and monetize it either through advertising or monetize it through subscription direct-to-consumer. To your question, the Network definately within a tier is for a superfan.

*tells story about his brother-in-law who watches WWE Network*
(8:00) Q: One of the underappreciated benefits, in our view, of a direct relationship with your consumers has to be the data and analytics that you’re able to receive. How important of a benefit has this been for you in terms of understanding your fans and growing fanbase and limiting churn?
A: Anybody who knows me and has gotten to work with me has known that by nature, I’m a pretty data-intensive person and always have been. Vince & I were talking about something else the other day and I said ‘Having the Network over the last three years has completely changed the way that I think about media’; because as a creator and purveyor of content you, historically you had so little access to how that content was consumed - the best you had were averages based on 1% of the homes - you know whether it’s Nielsen or Kantar, whichever service you subscribe to - today you can see by the minute how different people… how they consume the content; we see cohorts that are created in our subscriber base; not everyone watches the same things in the same way. I was telling Vince, ‘All that data and it’s orders of magnitude greater than any data we ever had before about our consumer, it’s changed how I think about the media business in general. Not just our business but the business outside our four walls.’

That’s high level context. From the day-to-day, the easiest way to describe it is that when we launched, we had one segment in our consumer base. That was “you are a subscriber”. Soon we had two segments - either active subscriber and inactive subscriber.

Today, we have about 10,000 segments. They’re not all actionable. They’re not all actionable from a marketing or engagement standpoint. When you crosstab all sources of data we have and that includes what you watch, when you watch it, what device you watch it on, how you pay, what country you’re on, 3rd party data overlays - that’s where the 10,000 - when you crosstab all of that, just the math, that’s thousands of segments. Probably have about thirty or so that are actionable, but it went from having one.

Today that actionability was “how do we drive engagement?” - so we see what kind of fan you are, so we message you - and say “hey you’re watching this / you like this / we really think you’ll like this” and similar this fan has a different behavior and we can tailor the messages a little more - both on the engagement and promotional side on reactivating the inactive subscribers, we can tailor the message more towards those cohorts, as well.

The data has been incredibly enlightening.

We’re starting to begin marrying the data from the network with our ticket data, with our commerce data, I always like to say, today it’s “a video relationship”. I don’t know - go three, four, five years in the future, what you’ll see is that WWE Network will be hub of how we interact with our most passionate fans in all the different ways that we touch them - not just video. Video predominately, because that’s what we are at our core, but we think there’s opportunities to go beyond that and kind of strengthen that relationship.

To your point, long-winded answer, the direct to consumer element, and I talk about this and sometimes people don’t get it - I feel it every day - going from going from very little of your transactions or your relationships direct to consumer to half, driven by the digital transformation, we’re a different business today.

(11:40) Q: If I could push on that a little more, did you have moments or epiphanies that you were able to learn something about your fanbase that wasn’t there before? How does that affect your decision-making in everything that you do?
A: Yeah, there were some tactical elements along the way. Early on, on the Network, we saw consumption of different type of talent and we’d talk about that internally and we’d give that to Vince and the creative team. I think there were decisions made about maybe what talent we might bring back for events and so on based on that. That’s at the tactical level.

I always say, at the broader level, it’s less about a specific action afterwards, but you talk about change in our “mental model” of our fans - when we launched the Network, in our minds, these pay-per-views would be what people consumed. That’s really what it was for.
We put a big VOD library out there because we have a big library so we could, we started with 1,500 hours and as I mentioned we’re close to 8,000. Mental model was “it’ll be the PPVs.” The reality is it’s not that.

Last year, we averaged almost 200 hours per subscriber consumption. Massive amount if you think about it’s almost 30 minutes a day. Obviously it’s lumpier than daily. 30 minutes a day.

And so we only had 45-50 hours of those special events - only about 25% of the total consumption per subscriber were the live specials. That was a total.. it just changed the way we thought about our business and really demonstrated the value of the archive which is one of the differences we had with sports.

I thought.. To me, that was one of the biggest revelations that we had - exactly just how much passionate and how much hunger there was for our video content.

(13:35) Q: I think you said about 100,000 hours of library content is what you have - how do you think about about rolling that out over time?
A: We have over 100,000 hour library archive that includes b-roll, multiple angles and so on. That’s a broad number. But basically, if you looked at, as we’ve announced, new thresholds - you can kind of do the math - we’re adding anywhere between 100 to 200 hours a month from that archival library to the Network - so we’ll keep doing that along the way because we see that there’s real value to it.

I always say “of the archive content, no one piece of content gets viewed a lot, but all the content gets viewed.” That’s.. you talk about data, you see that there’s these viewership cohorts. Not everyone using the Network is looking at the same thing. The vast majority of them are looking at the pay-per-views, but as you start going to the archive, that’s where you see start seeing clusters forming people - either by era, by superstar, by wrestling promotion - there’s just clusters of different viewership behaviors.

(14:50) Q: So as you learn more and are better able to segment your fanbase, does this increasingly open up the possibility for opening up price tiers or packages for the Network?
A: We’ve always said from a wonky business perspective, if you can segment your demand curve, you maximize revenue. By definition, you want tiers, because that’s how you can optimize revenue. The key is being able to differentiate the product and create value proposition at different price points and if you get that wrong, you can damage the existing business. So that’s the, kind of, intellectual context.

So because of the first point, you definitely what to be able to differentiate - we are looking at it.

People have written that they see us testing things in the market and we are consistently testing that. No plans as of yet, but if I had my druthers, we’ll figure out a tiering model that really brings value to our audience. And, you know, if we can sit back here three or four years from now, you can look and say “yeah, we now have a tiered product.”

You have to be careful. If you don’t do it well, it has really negative second.. first and second order consequences so if we’re going to do it we want be sure that we have something that really works for the consumer.

(16:10) Q: Okay. We don’t believe the WWE currently offers the Network through wholesale partners. And we’ve heard from others some other companies that we cover that go direct-to-consumer that this has been a great way for them to reduce churn. You know, is this something you’ve considered, you know, and is the bottleneck here more around price or data relationship?
A: Yeah, so we’re agnostic on whetherit’s wholesale or retail. I think you hit on it.

What we’re not agnostic on:
#1: What are the economics of the relationship?
#2: We want access to user identification, the email account usually being the primary ID.
#3: We want access to consumption data of our content similar to what have now with direct-to-consumer.

So if we can get those three things, we’re open to working with everyone. And we’ve had conversations. We haven’t engaged in one of those partnerships yet because we haven’t gotten comfortable across all three dimensions that I’ve mentioned. My guess is that one day that’ll happen.

The other element I’ll say when you talk about other partners because we’ve talked to some of those folks as well. Keep in mind the point about who the Network subscriber is. We’re not out trying to get people who aren’t familiar with WWE and engaging on our other platforms to become Network subscribers. That would be illogical. This is the premium tier. It’s got the premium content. Almost by definition, you have to be a fan already of WWE, you have to be engaged already and you want more.

If I’m a general entertainment network, subscription network, and I’m competing with a Netflix or HBO or whomever, and the whole world is my market and that’s my competition - those wholesale relationships, I think, can be a little bit more valuable.

In our case, we’re talking to the potential network subscriber every day on Facebook, on YouTube, on traditional TV - so it’s a little.. so that tiering makes it a little bit different when you think about us versus others.

(18:15) Q: How’s the WWE Network doing abroad? Do you find that your content produced in the US travels or do you see a need to produce more local content to in order to support a local fanbase?
A: You know, If you look at our core TV content that we’ve been delivering around the world for at almost thirty years, we provide it in over twenty languages.

In India, you can get it in English; you can get it in Hindi - and our most watched show is a version of Raw in Hinglish - a combination of Hindi and English. It’s our most watched show in India. We’ve been producing localized language, it’s the same video, but language localization for a long time.

On the Network, it’s a US product so it’s a $9.99 dollar price offered around the world. We’ve been able to get about 25% of our subs to come outside of the US - primarily skewing towards English-speaking countries and the percentage of the population who are WWE fans that speak English in other countries as well.

That’s where the product is today. It worked out great for us.

We now do more revenue internationally on the Network than we did internationally in the PPV business - if you look at that one model that has been cannibalized on the new model. So it’s been great.

The question for us, and it’s similar to tiering, different.. it’s the same kind of analysis: “Do you think you can really drive even more subscription growth in particular markets by going in a fully localized product like Netflix does or HBO does?”

And that’s something we’re still taking a look at but not something that imminent.We still think there’s run-rate in the way that we’ve structured it. But again, if I went out two years, three, four years from now, if I had to put money down, do I think we’ll have at at least one other language, the Network available in a fully localized form? I think so. But again, nothing imminent.

Q: How about foreign content viewed domestically - you’ve mentioned about Netflix, they’ve talked about taking a show that’ve produced for Brazil and showing it in the US market. Do you think, you know, a US WWE fan would be interested in shows centered for the UK or another market?
A: That’s non-WWE I.P.?
Q: No, that’s WWE I.P. But more locally produced for a UK market.

A: Sure. We’re doing that. We started kind of organically about a year and half ago. We did an event in Japan, Beast from the East, primarily our NXT talent. And airing live from different times in the world from Japan, different types of consumption. Not exactly.

More recently we did UK championship with UK talent. Not the folks you’d see in Raw or Smackdown. Obviously it did well in the UK on the Network. We were interested to see. I think it gets to that passionate wrestling fan in other parts of the world. They also tuned in to consume…
I think what you’ll see over time, and it gets to that localization question you were asking. Little by little, more and more of the localization of their core content.

I mentioned that Hinglish show, we thought that model worked so well, we did something similar in the Middle East with OSN. So it’s a clips-highlight show, so it’s not exactly something like the UK Championship, but it’s hosted with local Middle Eastern talent - on camera talent, in language. Matter of fact, I was just watching - It just debuted.

I think you’re going to see more and more of that - so whether it’s in YouTube or Facebook localizing the content, traditional TV localizing the content, or on our own network localizing the content, you’ll see more and more.

Round that, again not exactly what you’re saying, but somewhat tangential, when you look at our developmental group… So WWE has our stars that you see on traditional TV and social media and on the Network and on our specials, but we also have a developmental system - anywhere between 50 and 100 talent are training to be the next superstars. Our minor league, if you will.

The media from that, we create media for that talent sits on our Network on a show called NXT. But where I was getting on that localization...

Today, about half of our talent comes from outside of the US - massive change for us. We’ve always been global and we’ve had an international talent base. But not to that scale. We just had a tryout in the Middle East in Dubai primarily for Middle Eastern and India talent.

So again, back to this localization, I always say: every day, a little bit more digital, a little bit more direct-to-consumer, a bit little more global. That has tentacles across the organization including talent recruiting and development and video that we’ll ultimately create from that.

(23:15) Q: I just want to get one more on the Network. As you...
A: I could talk about the Network forever, so yeah.
Q: We’ve got to get to TV at some point. As you look potentially add content to the pipeline, would it ever make sense to add or partner with other wrestling federations? Something like a Ring of Honor or even adjacent sports that your fans might be interested in?

A: I think they’re something there. It’s always priority and what one comes first.

We recently announced a deal with ICW and Progress which are wrestling promotions in the UK. So we’re thinking about best way to utilize that content. As you know we’ve been fairly active over the years in purchasing wrestling libraries, video libraries, a lot of which you can see on the network. So we think there is a home for that - it’s just a matter of priority.

(24:05) Q: Alright, let’s switch it over to Television. Relative to other live TV properties, and I think in particular the major sports leagues, the rights fees that you receive whether it’s on a viewer-basis or viewer-hour-basis is substantially lower. What do you think is driving that and can that gap be closed over time?
A: Yeah, I mean, the one thing that I’ll say - that type of analysis depends on which market you’re in. I’d argue that in some markets we’re kind of right in the range, I think you’re referring to the US... (Yup) I always say time will tell. I always think the most important thing that we can do is to continue to strengthen the brand, both at the consumer level, which we’ve always done a pretty good job at getting audiences passionate about engaging and watching our product but also just as importantly on the business-to-business level, I think if we keep doing that, that’s what we can control. We can’t control how someone else wants to behave in a commercial discussion. But if we can control that, I think that’s really important.

The second element is, as we mentioned before, and we’re only five or six years into it, you know, if you’re a content owner today, you have multiple ways to monetizing, delivering that content around the world and I think over time, my sense is, that’s just going to become more and more of a potential opportunity as people get more and more comfortable consuming content that way as business models harden around that both ad and subscription supported, I think the future, if you’re a content owner and rights owner, and we own 100% of our IP, you’re in as good a position as can be but it’s hard to say what the future holds specifically.

(25:57) Q: You have a major renewal cycle, I think it starts in 2019, that last one ended in 2014. In the TV ecosystem is fairly different now than it was then. It’s likely to change further. So when you consider what’s different, including, you know, less live viewership, more delayed, more cord-cutting/shaving/nevering, how do you think these factors are going to impact the value that your partners place on WWE? Mainly what’s different now versus 2014?
A: Yup. First off, I think we’re talking about US specifically because what you just described, the economics are different...
Q: Leaving aside the renewals in UK and India in 2019.
A: Yup, the US renewal, the current deal expires at the end of September 2019. UK and India which are the next two largest at the end of ‘19. To your point, there’s a big event on the horizon for WWE.

As far as the US ecosystem, we’ve talked first of all at the micro-level, we can control it - which is: engage fans and get the brand as good a place as possible, that’s within our control. In terms of the ecosystem, I always say that for a content owner there is a bear case and bull case.

The bear case is: boy this ecosystem is damaged or subscriber losses are more significant or pace of subscriber losses changes. The ecosystem is damaged and it becomes difficult for anyone to extract economics including the owner or creator of the content. That’s the bear case.
I think the bull case for a content owner is the ecosystem is under pressure and the folks who aggregate content (i.e. networks) are under even more pressure than ever before, to have as much viewership to remain as fully distributed as possible, you know, to not be skinny-bundled because of impact on both affiliate fees and the ad model.

So in that case, in that case the bull case for content owner is, boy there’s even more demand for anyone can that aggregate eyeballs. And we can certainly aggregate eyeballs. We’re one of the largest deliverers of live eyeballs in the United States.

So, I think there’s a bear case/bull case. I think the world is changing so quickly it’s hard to know which kind of one, which model where in that range, where the future goes...

So,internally, our engine is about build the brand up on a B2B basis. And just make sure people are engaging with our content. If we do that, then we’ll let the kind of chips fall where they may.

(28:25) Q: You just talked about brand. What’s the perception of the WWE brand now versus you know five years ago. I am thinking I turn on Monday Night Raw on the NBC-Universal owned network and there’s Enzo & Cass and they’re doing a commercial for Universal’s new water park in Orlando. I mean that type of endemic promotion has to be, I assume, highly valuable for your partners, right?
A: Yeah, I think if you went back and watched Monday Night Raw in 2013, let say, or 2014, and kind of did the ad roster, you know, who’s advertising? Which is a measure of that, who is getting close to the brand. And then you look at today. And you gave one example.

It’s been a… I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say there’s a sea change there in who is advertising, the breadth of the categories on Raw, so, you can see that. I think there’s other elements.

You know, It wasn’t too long ago, probably two years ago, a very senior person at ESPN when asked about covering WWE said “We don’t cover that.” And literally, three months later, ESPN was at SummerSlam. Six months after that they did SportsCenter from WrestleMania and about three months after that launched a WWE vertical on ESPN.com. And shortly thereafter FoxSports did the same. And that all happened after a very senior person said, “We don’t cover that.”

I think that to me is the perception, the B2B perception changes. And not so much the consumer. The fans always been a fan. That’s B2B. We’ve done a lot of hard work. Our partners around the world, including USA have done a lot of hard work.

But I would not undersell or discount our repositioning, as kind of.. Y’know.. it sounds a little bit over-the-top, but this digital and direct-to-consumer powerhouse has changed the way that the B2B world looks at us.

You can’t.. You cannot diminish the fact that we’re the number 1 sports video property on YouTube in the World. We’re the number two Sports brand on Facebook in the world. We’re the fifth largest direct-to-consumer video service in the world. You’ve got the three big aggregators and then MLB and then us. And everybody else is behind us,.
I think the B2B community.. Companies have changed. We have a parade of people coming through Stamford just wanting to sit down & talk. Kind of, how are you guys doing this? How do you think about it? Can we talk about your data stack?

We’re way behind a Netflix or an Amazon in terms of utilizing data to really engage engagement but what we’ve learned that we’re way ahead of a lot of other people. And they’ve learned that too.

And so I think all of that gets to that repositioning of the brand and again, you know and again we’ll see how it manifests itself but there’s been a lot of work internally and we feel pretty good about it. I think everyone internally feels it’s in the best place it’s ever been.

(31:40) Q: You mentioned the UK and India are a little different. I want to talk about India specifically. When I got up this morning, top trending item in Twitter is that Jinder Mahal is new Smackdown champion. What does that say about WWE’s commitment for that market?
A: This were a lot of agape mouths in the Barrios household last night when that happened. We were excited. My wife is part Indian, so my kids were part Indian. So we were all excited on multiple levels.

Look, I’ve said before, we’ve been global and the talent base has been global for a long time. We’re more global today than it’s ever been before.

In India, which the pay TV market is in the early, early stages. We have more viewers in India of our traditional longform weekly content than any in the world. So it’s a critically important market.

I think having an Indian champion can only help, hopefully but.. India is a little bit of a crown jewel for WWE, you know, because given its scale, given its GDP growth, given the current levels of engagement that we have with the brand, it’s almost just don’t screw it up, it’s just so good. So hopefully we’ll do a lot better than.. just not do that.

(33:20) Q: We haven’t touched on a few subjects, nothing on social yet. Just on distribution, we’ve seen digital players like Amazon, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook all recently, you know, show an interest in live content and there’s industry talk in the next major sports renewal cycle, you know, you might see TV and digital get unbundled. What’s your thoughts about potentially distributing through a platform like that?
A: Yeah, I mean.. It’s no different than any other platform when you value the traditional world over the past where you said if I’m going with a partner there’s different elements: The economics obviously, but also what’s the strength of their platform, how distributed are they, what’s their reach, um, do we think there’s a good fit with the brand ‘cause the cross-promotion is important.

So I think.. You know.. We kind of… We can get all starry-eyed about digital but at the end of the day it’s a pipe delivering bits and bytes and it’s video content and everyone is trying to do the same thing: engage people.

So, I think it’ll come down to the traditional evaluation which is: What’s the scale? What’s the reach? What’s the engagement levels? And that’s important. Right? Long-form viewing is different today on digital platforms than it is on traditional - change eventually. The point is when will it change and has it changed and will it change by the time you did a renewal? It’ll change eventually. When will it change? And the economics, are the economics right? I would be shocked if at some point they’re not all competing with each other, The question is that in two years, one year, five years, ten years out? I don’t know.
But I would agree David that recently in the marketplace that digital players are really getting a little more aggressive than they have in really trying to secure premium content. So, it will be interesting.

(35:00) Q: We didn’t leave much time to talk about WWE in social and digital in general but it’s somewhere where you guys maintain such a huge and tremendous presence. Why is it an area so important to you? And for investors specifically, how do we think about how material it is in terms of financials?
A: Yeah, I mean, every piece of content that we create has one of four potential uses and sometimes multiple:

#1: Engage current fans
#2: Bring in new fans
#3: Monetizing directly through ads or subscription
#4: As a promotional tool to bring your fans to other products like the Network.

So for us social started out as engage 24/7, bring in new fans, promote other products. We’re now monetizing through a greater degree with our ad-shares on the digital platform.

Stating the obvious, global scale, it’s a landgrab like attention always is.
For the last seven years, before it was cool to do so, it was a strategic priority internally.
Vince pulling senior team and saying literally, “this is a landgrab and we’ve got to grab our unfair share.”

So far we’ve done a pretty good job.

* end of talk *

transcription: Chris Harrington (wrestlenomics.com)

Sunday, May 07, 2017

WWE Royalties Lawsuit - 5/5/17 ruling

Required Reading

FIRST AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT
Marcus Bagwell and Scott Levy, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated;
v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.; WCW, Inc.,
filed 11/7/16

DEFENDANT WWE’S MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT
filed 12/2/16

RULING RE: DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 44) by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall
ordered 5/5/17

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOT DISMISSED - COUNT I: BREACH OF CONTRACT—FAILURE TO PAY ROYALTIES
"Count I alleges breach of contract, stemming from WWE’s refusal to pay royalties on money derived from the WWE Network."

NOT DISMISSED - COUNT II: (BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY)
"Count II alleges a breach of fiduciary duty, grounded in the same failure to pay royalties."

NOT DISMISSED - COUNT III: (VIOLATION OF THE CONNECTICUT UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES ACT, C.G.S. §42-110A, ET SEQ.)
"Count III claims that WWE violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”)."

NOT DISMISSED - COUNT IV: Breach of Contract- Failure to Pay Royalties Within 90 Days Following the of End of Quarter
"Count IV asserts another breach of contract claim, this one stemming from WWE’s failure to pay royalties within ninety days of the end of each fiscal quarter."

DISMISSED COUNT V: Declaratory Relief
"Count V seek declaratory relief, asking for a declaration that the WWE Network qualifies as a “WCW Video Product” and a “WWF Video Product” under the relevant contracts"

DISMISSED COUNT VI: Declaratory Relief
"Counts VI seek declaratory relief that Bagwell is paid royalties because of his 2001 contract with a WWE-affiliated entity."

NOT DISMISSED - COUNT VII: Successor Liability
"Count VII alleges that WWE is liable for the “debts and liabilities” of World Championship Wrestling, Inc."

DISMISSED COUNT VIII: Breach of Contract
"Count VIII asserts a third claim for breach of contract, arising out of WWE’s refusal to allow Bagwell to examine WWE’s books and records."

DISMISSED COUNT IX: Unjust Enrichment
"Last, Count IX claims that WWE has been unjustly enriched."
---------------------------------------
JUDGE'S DECISION
  • All claims against WCW, Inc. are dismissed.


  • Counts V and VI, for declaratory relief, are dismissed because plaintiffs have failed to oppose WWE’s arguments for dismissal and because declaratory relief appears duplicative of the breach of contract claims.


  • Plaintiffs may seek declaratory relief as a remedy, rather than as a freestanding cause of action. 


  • Count VII is dismissed because plaintiffs’ contracts with WCWI did not entitle them to royalties. 


  • Last, Count IX is dismissed because unjust enrichment claims are not cognizable where an express contract governs the subject matter undergirding the unjust enrichment claim.
  • The Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II, III, IV, and VIII is denied.

---------------------------------------

Detail on decision not to dismiss "Count I: Failure to Pay Royalties on WWE Network Proceeds" 

Direct Sale
"The contractual provisions that plaintiffs cite in their claim for royalties require royalty payments on money derived from “the direct sale” of pay-per-view or non-pay-per-view videos." (page 13)
"Ultimately, the court concludes that neither party’s proffered interpretation is foreclosed by the contract’s plain language." (page 14)
"The WWE Network is neither movable nor tangible, and thus does not qualify as a 'good' under the Uniform Commercial Code." (page 15)
"In any event, there can be little doubt that WWE is selling something to subscribers to the WWE Network. WWE understandably avoids using the word “sale”—or any variation thereof—in describing its interaction with WWE Network customers. Put colloquially, however, WWE sells subscriptions to the WWE Network, enabling subscribers to view content (both pay-per-view and non-pay-per-view videos) to which they would not otherwise have access. Nothing in the Booking Contract, copyright law, or any portion of Connecticut state law so limits the term “direct sale” as to unambiguously foreclose plaintiffs’ claims. That being the case, WWE’s arguments for dismissal that are grounded in the argument that “direct sale” does not—as a matter of law—cover the provision of streaming video on the WWE Network are not persuasive." (page 16)

Video Product
"Next, WWE argues that streaming video on the WWE Network does not qualify as a “Video Product,” as that term is defined in the Booking Contracts." (page 16)
 "The court is unpersuaded by WWE’s argument that the final clause in the definition of “Video Products” refers unambiguously and exclusively to physical objects." (page 17)
 "Last, the court is not persuaded by WWE’s suggestion—raised for the first time in its Reply—that sporadic references to the Internet elsewhere in the Booking Contracts forecloses inclusion of streaming videos in the definition of “Video Products.” (page 19)
"For the reasons set forth in detail above, WWE’s Motion to Dismiss certain of plaintiffs’ claims because they rely on a reading of “Video Products” that includes the WWE Network’s streaming videos is denied."  (page 20)

Calculating Royalties
"WWE next argues that plaintiffs’ interpretation of the Booking Contracts would “render other relevant provisions of the Booking Contracts impossible to apply and would lead to an absurd result.” In response, plaintiffs assert that calculating WWE’s royalty obligations “is purely a mathematical issue that can be determined by experts and this court at a later time.” (page 20)
"However, the court does not believe, at least at this stage of the litigation, that giving effect to plaintiffs’ interpretation of the royalty provisions would lead to an absurd result. There are likely several plausible ways to calculate the royalty payments plaintiffs demand. For example, it might be that the proper way to perform the royalty calculation is to determine the number of times a specific video on the WWE Network is viewed as compared to the total number of video views, divide the gross sales derived from the WWE Network in that proportion, and create the talent royalty pool to be paid to the wrestlers appearing in the specific video from 5% of that value. To be clear, the court is not holding here that a particular method of calculating any royalty obligation on the part of WWE is the correct way, but rather offers a plausible method to show that plaintiffs’ interpretation of the Booking Contracts does not appear to render them unworkable." (page 21)
"Therefore, notwithstanding WWE’s arguments to the contrary, it does not appear that a determination that plaintiffs are entitled to WWE Network royalties would lead to an absurd result." (page 22)

-------------------------

Read the ruling:

RULING RE: DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 44) by United States District Judge Janet C. Hallordered 5/5/17


-----------------------------------

EDIT: The Second Amended Complaint on the WWE Royalties Case was filed 5/19/17: https://www.scribd.com/document/349138407/20170522-WWE-Royalties-Second-Amended-Class-Action-Complaint-Bagwell-Levy

Exhibits on 2nd Amended Complaint: https://www.scribd.com/document/349139805/20170522-WWE-Royalties-Exhibits

-----------------------------------

https://twitter.com/mookieghana/status/865625223751622658

Also, in the WWE CTE case, the plantiffs attempted to use Judge Hall's opinion to justify that WWE had successor obligations related to ECW/WCW wrestlers and file a sur-reply but WWE wasn't willing to play ball at all;  https://www.scribd.com/document/348865435/WWECTE-PLANTIFFS-DEFENDANTS-MOTIONS-TO-FILE-SUR-REPLY-BRIEF-IN-REFERENCE-TO-DEFENDANTS-MOTION-FOR-SANCTIONS


Friday, April 21, 2017

Wrestlenomics Radio - 4 21 2017

New episode of the revamped Wrestlenomics Radio with co-hosts Chris "@mookieghana" Harrington and Brandon "@BrandonThurston" Howard.

2017 WWE Business Partner Summit


2017 WWE Business Partner Summit
VIDEO: http://corporate.wwe.com/news/company-news/2017/17-04-2017



* New Day comes out to kick things off.
Xavier & Kofi are wearing the unicorn horns. Xavier has a green trombone.



* Enzo & Cass interrupt.



They accuse of anyone who is not attending WrestleMania as "Sawft". Big E chimes in "N-A-W!"



Xavier plugs his YouTube page (Up-Up-Down-Down) hitting 1 million subscribers.



Kofi literally says - "We're out of time! We were supposed to be out here for 45 seconds and we've gone 3-4 minutes. Let's settle this in the back."

And then everyone walks off.



But it's a swerve.. New Day runs back out and starts a "New.. Day Rocks.." chant.

The looks of befuddlement dominate this audience.



New Day leaves again.

CHIEF BRAND OFFICER STEPHANIE MCMAHON


Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon comes out and talks about her lifelong career in WWE:

- Merchandise model
- Receptionist in HS
- Sideline reporter in XFL
- Head of Creative
- TV Character











Role I'm more proud of is not only as today's host but as chief brand officer.. . As Chief Brand Officer, I have the privilege of supporting all of our lines of business - helping to drive revenue, drive brand awareness and enhance brand value for our fans as well as our partners



Stephanie talks about the mission of "putting smiles on people's faces" and gives examples from moms/kids, troop visits and Make-a-Wish.









We couldn't achieve that mission without our partners. We have over 200 partners around the world across all our lines of business.

She calls out investors, licensees, representatives from community and gov't organizations, media and technology companies.

Talks about showing gratitude. And then segues to "since this is WWE we're also here for some competition".

The partner who has achieved the highest rate of engagement from our collective audience across multiple lines of business.

BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF AMERICA





Enable young people to reach their full potential regardless of where they come from and working with WWE to help put an end to bullying.

In 2016, WWE & "Boys and Girls Clubs of America" announced multi-yr deal. The goal: "Reach as many youth as possible to help stop bullying".









Don't be a bully.. BE A STAR!









WWE is working w/ the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to "refresh the curriculum to focus to on social & emotional learning"









This new approach will be implemented in more than 4,000 clubs across country to reach "4 million kids by 2018". (updated Be A Star program)



We are excited about our multi-year partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and thank them for our nominee




Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer
George Barrios, WWE Chief Strategy & Financial Officer





Last year we talked about how we took a big risk in disrupting our lucrative pay-per-view business. - Michelle Wilson



We told you about that proverbial long dark hallway that you enter when you're transitioning away from a legacy business.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/business/media/the-stream-finally-cracks-the-dam-of-cable-tv-.html



And we shared with you how we successfully emerged on the other side from that hallway with our direct-to-consumer service, WWE Network







It's now our 2nd largest and fastest growing business. If you remember, back in 2014, a lot of experts in the industry thought WWE was insane to walk away from the pay-per-view business model. But if you fast-forward to today, industry experts are recognizing and applauding WWE's strategic direction.



https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2015/02/17/the-future-is-television-and-digital-broadcasting/



The WWE...will continue to...maximize its audience viewing dollars. The future is now, but the future is not television or digital. The future is television and digital. - Adam Grossman, Feb 2015

_Michelle_



Clearly, it shows that WWE's Culture is about being nimble, flexible and innovative.

We watch for industry trends that may shape the future of how we do business. We listen to our fans and we make a point to respond and react quickly.

This has helped lead us to another incredible year that, as Stephanie said, could not have happened without the tremendous partnerships of all you in the room.

I can tell you today, right here, right now, that we're already looking at the future and new trends that will compel us to continue to innovate with all of you.

_George_



2016:

* $730 million revenue

* 11% growth

* $200m in int'l revenue.

* 70% content consumer outside of US









Our digital business includes anything that can be monetized on a digital platform - ecommerce, WWE Network, YouTube $240 million.







The rapid shift from traditional to digital to difficult in any industry.

Talks about the change from Syndicated business (television) to PPV business (cable) to Direct-to-Consumer business (WWE Network).

This change will deliver strong performance for us and all of you. And it's what you're going to hear more about today.

_Michelle_

How we take Global Trends and translate them into a strategy for business around the world.



For example, half of world's population - 3.5 billion people - are under 35 years old.

Growing percentage of that poopulation is "Gen Z" - having never lived in a world without a connected device.

It's no surprise to see global consumer behavior shifting dramatically.



We've seen audiences viewing content wherever they want.

Whether it's a small town in India, a plane over the Pacific or an office where they should probably be working.





20% of 18-34 year old using only mobile devices to view content. They are 'cord-nevers'; never subscribed to cable or satellite service.



If they're not viewing digital media content, then they're spending their time on social media. In fact, they're spending 4 hours every day on Social Network.



Whether it's a YouTube clip, a Facebook Live video or a Snap on Snapchat, content now can be created by virtually anyone.



This doesn't take into account what will happen when our fans can fully immerse themselves in a virtual or augmented reality. That's also a technology that we're watching very closely.



Michelle Wilson is discussing how WWE tier's their content across platforms and developing a "24/7 content ecosystem".







Opportunity to "monetize the WWE brand" and truly exemplifies the concept of the rising tide.

_George_



The "hub of this content eco-system" is still our flagship live, long-form - Raw & SmackDown live.



Although television ratings, which you hear about, may be challenging, WWE continues to deliver on live, appointment viewing around the world.

Fans in Shanghai are tuning in at 9 AM on Tuesday to watch Raw.





Although tv ratings, which you hear about, may be challenging, WWE continues to deliver on live, appt. viewing around the world.

Domestically, our partnership with NBC Universal remains absolutely vital.

With 730 million hours of Raw & Smackdown consumed domestically in 2016, WWE remains #1 and #2 shows on USA Network



SmackDown went live on USA and created two different shows - different storylines, different character rosters.

Barrios is explaining how SmackDown ratings improved when show went live on USA and implemented the brand split.





WWE is now in "650 million international homes".



SkyTV in UK

SonyTen in India

Fox Sports in Latin America



In the digital and social ecosystem, our fans are able to view the continuation of our storylines through shortform content directly

On YouTube alone, it's incredible, we had an increase of over 40% over the previous year.



Claims that makes them the #1 Sports Channel in YouTube for the 3rd consecutive year.

750 million social media followers - "we can communicate directly with them".



Our fans consumed 600m hours of "that content" on "that platform" (I think he's talking Digital Content) in 2016 - "up 30x since 2010".





_Michelle_



As you all know, our storylines always culminate in spectacular fashion, on our pay-per-views which is the third of our ecosystem, the WWE Network.





1.5 million subscribers consuming nearly 300 million hours of content



Michelle says "1.5 million subscribers consuming nearly 300 million hours of content is average 4 hours/week per Network subscriber"



4th more engaging network behind CBS, ABC and "our friends at" NBC.

Parks Associates rated WWE Network among Top 5 Over-the-Top Video Networks in US and 2nd in consumer satisfaction"





Michelle refers to "Talking Smack" and "Raw Talk" as 'shoulder programming'.









We're actually curating our collection to tell stories about our superstars, their rivalries and our storied history.







_George_

New content helps our brand reach new audiences and WWE ever-expanding list of strategic partners does just that. So, on E! network the drama didn't stop with season six of Total Divas. It continued to our reality series Total Bellas further extending that reach with the female demo.



We also have produced documentaries with our strategic partners - ESPN's "This was the XFL" as part of their acclaimed 30 for 30 series. The show was a mass success - it beat the on-demand performance of all of ESPN's 30 for 30 in 2016 in just one week.



And in January 2018, we're going to premiere an Andre the Giant documentary in partnership with HBO Sports and Bill Simmons.



With Blumhouse Productions & Warner Bros, WWE Studios uses our talent across all different genres - from horror to kids animation.



_Michelle_



Market the WWE Brand - Cricket Wireless, Mars Snickers, Nestle DiGiorno, KFC.

We greatly appreciate these valued partnerships because they open doors to new audiences for WWE. "NBCU has brought on 50 new advertisers"



You'll hear more from John Brody who is the new head of Global Media Sales.

We also want to say how proud we are to welcome back Snickers as a presenting sponsor for WrestleMania.

Forbes has called WrestleMania among the top 5 most valuable sports brands in the world.





https://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlm45gelhg/forbes-fab-40-events/

We strive to have a lasting impact through these partnerships.



1. Diversity & Inclusion
2. Education
3. Hope
4. Military

Four pillars that form our social responsibility initiatives. - Michelle Wilson



From taking a stand against bullying with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to promoting awareness of pediatric cancer to helping those in military enter the civilian workforce with our partners at Hire Heroes to bringing a smile to the faces of those need it most through our thirty year partnership with Make-a-Wish.



We remain convinced of the power of the WWE brand to connect with communities around the world.

As we look ahead, and look at trends, we have narrowed our focus to address the things that we think will have the greatest impact our growth and yours.

Narrow Focus:



1. Super Serve Our Audience (New Content & WWE Network)

2. Localization (Localize Content for Key Emerging Markets)

3. Engage the Next Generation of WWE Fans

Continue to invest in programming that brings people more live in-ring content.

*plays video*

Most recently, we premiere the UK Championship Tournament.

A step in that direction of more and more regional and localized live content.

And in Emerging markets, as we explained earlier, we launched an exciting new partnership with PPTV in China, we've also got great plans for India, Latin America and Middle East.





We've already shared with you how young people are consuming content differently and most of you already know that WWE has long been a multi-generational brand. Our focus to engage the next generation of fans should come as no surprise.

We're launching new products with our global licensees and partnering with YouTube influencers and exploring animation. We're working on new initiatives that will engage WWE fans across all our platforms.

We are so excited about our future and confident that whatever trends that may emerge, WWE will continue to be at the forefront of driving business results for everyone in this room.

Thank you and Enjoy WrestleMania!

STEPHANIE MCMAHON



The question I'd like to address is.. Why? Why is WWE able to continue to grow our business and fanbase for over fifty years.

“Why do more families continue to watch WWE programming together than any other sports franchise the only exception being the NFL?”



“Why do they continue watching as a family together for generations?”



“Why at last year’s WrestleMania was there fans from all fifty states and 30 different countries, from all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds?”



Because WWE has unequivocal engagement with our fanbase. - Stephanie McMahon



We understand in order to relate to our audience, we need to give them a reason to care about our content and who we are as a brand.



We need to listen to them and respond, not just with words but with actions.

Whether it’s influencing who makes it to the main roster, influencing content on the WWE Network or starting a revolution.







But first, we have to capture their imaginations, and we do that through storytelling.







Whether you identify with the scrappy underdog that refuses to give up (Becky Lynch photo), relive your youth by cheering on icons (Undertaker photo), or you look up to the conquering hero whose mantra is all about hardwork, loyalty and respect (John Cena photo)..

You become invested in our characters and their journeys. And just like every great book, play, opera, ballet or movie, WWE's stories feature protagonists and antagonists with some kind of conflict resolution. Our conflicts are settled in the ring.”







WrestleMania represents the pinnacle of that storytelling.

“I remember when.. “

When Shane McMahon jumped off the top of that Hell in a Cell, when Charlotte moonsaulted off the top rope onto Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks on the outside of the ring and Austin/HBK/Foley made a surprise appearance and took down the “villanous” league of nations.

The success of WrestleMania would not be possible without the presenting sponsor and the next Business Partner Nominee.

BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: SNICKERS








A custom themed Snickers bar is coming soon to a retailer near you."



Exclusive Presenting Partner of WrestleMania 33






JOHN BRODY



John Brody Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Partnerships
http://corporate.wwe.com/investors/news/press-releases/2015/12-07-2015



As many of you know, WWE is uniquely positioned in that special space we call Sports Entertainment. Over the last two years, we’ve transformed our services to offer turn-key one-stop shopping.









We are focused on building relationships with our global media partners led by NBCU here in the US, as you heard NBCU has partnered with 50 new advertisers. We’d like to thank last year’s partner of the year. WWE continues to tie more closely with our global investment partners.

We are so proud to call ourselves partners with these category leaders. All of them push us, enable us, and support us in countless ways. We applaud you all for your work. And thank you for your partnership.

As we heard earlier from Michelle & George, WWE offers special opportunities to engage with WWE

Event Sponsorships

Digital Platforms

Talent Intergrations on Traditional TV

Released “100+ pieces of branded content”

Live Story with Mattel on Instagram, New Day with Vudu, Post Fruity Peebles on YouTube, National Sandwich day with Subway.

Let’s take a closer look at how we’ve taken fan engagement to a whole new level..





They just referred to Enzo and that KFC chicken as a "talent integration on traditional TV".












CASEY COLLINS





Over the past four years, our global licensing business has increased by 37%.

Innovative and flexible approach we’ve taken in four key segments:









Games

2K

WWE 2K17 is once again the industry leading videogame franchise

Our hardcore gamers are shifting to digital downloads; seeing 41% growth in domestic digital game sales.

Goldberg’s return to WWE meant he immediately became an downloadable character.

2K ad campaign was “#1 for Ad Recall” in front of NFL and Party City.

Mobile Gaming

2K / zynga / topps

WWE Super Card (Season 3)

Brand crossovers (Hit it Rich! Slots, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, 8Pool)

Bringing portfolio to new genres, partnering with leaders Sega & Reliance












Toys

#2 Action Figures behind Star Wars

Crash Cage came to live at NXT, Raw















Fitness









TapouT

Was Men’s Brand

Expand to Women’s & Boy’s

Opened Gyms including two in NYC

Key areas:

Expansion into lifestyle sector

Int’l Growth

Retail









Partnered with FYE

Exclusive merchandise including Booty-O’s

Partnered with GameSpot with launch of WWE2k17

WWE collectibles

Toys R Us

Promotional Events

Instore Autograph signings



BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: TOYS R US





Grew WWE footprint in the stores

Collectibles, Novelties, Roleplay, Action Figures





What defines a Hero?



A hero is someone who overcomes adversity.

Someone who never gives up.

Someone who has courage to stand up for themselves and others.

The real heros are the every day heros sitting in the audience.

WWE partnered with NBCU - “For the Hero in All of Us”

JAY DONLAN





Increasingly younger population are viewing content on alternate platforms. Millennials and Generation Z are spending more time on the platform of their choice.



(Back to VIRTUAL REALITY & Augmented REALITY talk..)

We’re extending the story that never ends for WWE and our partners

Core mission is put smiles on faces

Unique ability to nimble

Data driven approach to content creation

User-centric process

Program platform specific to each platform

Custom, tailor fan experience

We innovate with partners on social platforms

The ultimate behind the scenes experience

New dedicated

Virtual Reality










STEPHANIE MCMAHON

Stephanie McMahon telling the story of Zack Ryder and his WrestleMania dream.









...and Zack was able to elaborate on that story through his digital and social media channels giving our fans unprecedented access

Not only Zack Ryder the Superstar, but also Zack Ryder the person..
Not only do Zack's followers comment or like or share their stories

Stephanie is talking about it as "brand amplification" and "creating engagement".
This strategy is not unique to just one person.



Digital/Social media gives fans opportunity to interact with their fav. stars in organic/meaningful way deepening connection to WWE brand.



But it allows us to proliferate our stories through our content ecosystem. - Stephanie McMahon

BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: YOUTUBE








(Diamond play button)



ED WELLS, EVP INTERNATIONAL
(He’s been a rising star since Gerrit Meier left last year.)
http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2016/0621/612892/exclusive-wwe-international-loses-key-wwe-executive/



No one-size fits all approach to International.



Ed notes that 1/3 of revenue comes from outside the US and WWE Network available in 180 countries. Raw & Smackdown broadcast in 20 languages.



WWE EVP Int'l Ed Wells: "in India alone 13 million fans are watching Raw every week. In South Africa 4 million fans watch Smackdown"

In Mexico, more people are now watching Raw than Monday Night Football on a regular basis.



India represents the “largest social region in the world” for WWE.







Completely dedicated to market-centric strategies

Recognize the power of local content.







Local show in India “doubled the audience in India”.

With this successful template, thrilled to announce imminent two new productions with Fox Sports Latin America and OSN in the Middle East.





Created “wholly-owned long-form content” with the UK tournament.





He also mentions that "we're excited to continuing this venture with more events next month in the UK."



We're bringing WWE superstars to our fans in unique and innovative ways providing additional touchpoints for the consumer.

One way we do this is to integrate our superstars into local programming..
(Example: Jericho hosts Rogers' Hockey Night in Canada.)









We're also integrating local celebrities into our nearly 90 international events each year. (Example of Tim Wiese in Germany)



We're continuing to localize and adapt our commercial approach in a number of key emerging markets.
Wells talks China (PPTV deals)

http://corporate.wwe.com/investors/news/press-releases/2017/03-27-2017-143004929
http://corporate.wwe.com/investors/news/press-releases/2016/06-16-2016-140201677







One primary area of focus is content and production

Raw & Smackdown have a clear & proven global appeal

But we recognize the power of local content because the WWE Universe always wants to see John Cena and the New Day but they also want to experience WWE in the context of their day-to-day lives.

Last year, we set Expansion in China as global priority and as you heard we entered into a groundbreaking partnership with best-in-class

Consumer Products Approach in Emerging Markets

E-commerce has emerged as a powerful solution to markets where traditional infrastructure remains a challenge



In China, the largest e-commerce market in the world, we’re partnering with local industry leader Bao Zun. In India, WWE is partnering with “Souled Store”. Coming soon: Amazon, Flipkart.



In Middle East, Wells: "Middle East is still driven by brick & mortar retail."
WWE is launching "WWE branded retail shops across the Middle East".





BUSINESS PARTNER NOMINEE: FOX SPORTS LATIN AMERICA




WWE Business Partner of the Year Nominee: Fox Sports Latin America.
(notes in 2014 they signed "5 year deal") Spanish & Portuguese



Lists places that WWE has brought live events to Latin America as: Puerto Rico, Panama, Mexico, *Peru, Ecuador, *Chile, Costa Rica. Peru & Chile were “key emerging markets”.



WWE is launching a "premium SMS service" across Latin America and co-producing a local studio program in Mexico.




PAUL "TRIPLE H" LEVESQUE









Paul Levesque talking "WWE Redefined".
Goal: have the most charismatic and elite athletes in the world."
Adopted simple motto.





Paul Levesque comes out:

One word to emcompass the innovation and content creation. One word that perfectly sums up the recruitment, training and development of our talent. And really talent is everything we have. That one word that clearly explains how we’ve expanded from 350 live events to 520 live events annually, all in an effort to super serve our fanbase.

WWE Redefined.

We've redefined how we recruit. We've redefined how we train. We've redefined how we create a WWE superstar. Results speak for themselves.

Levesque is talking about where they recruit from.
Notes that they'll be holding "a huge tryout in Dubai" later this month.

We train these athletes at the WWE Performance Center.

Not only become successful performers through in-ring techniques, strength & conditioning..."...nutritional counseling, public speaking - but also in life. "WWE offers advanced education including opportunity to earn a degree, learn new languages, lifeskill training and professional development" "All while learning how to use social media platforms to promote WWE, promote our partners, as well as their own individual brand."

How do you become a WWE superstar? First you create a place for them to become one. A place where they can hone their craft and characters



One of those platforms is WWE's third global brand, NXT.



NXT has 200 live events annually and is one of the most popular shows on the WWE Network.



It's own unique roster, it's own unique superstars, it's own unique various lines of merchandise. (on NXT)





There were pockets of underutilized athletes in various markets. For example, there was a large pool of male talent under 205 lbs.



The tournament was so successful, it led to it's own show - 205 live. That success lead us to dig even deeper.



In UK, arguable WWE's 2nd home, found hidden wealth of talent & audience that was hungry to see local favorites featured in a bigger way.







Paul Levesque says that the UK tournament "was so successful" that they're working on "expanding that to a regular on-air show."



Paul Levesque: "Over 80% of our main roster is straight out of our developmental system."









Paul Levesque on fans: "We're giving them a voice to who makes it to the main roster, who makes it to the top of the WWE"



Steph comes out and mentions “unprecedented fan engagement and that fans started a revolution”

On Feb 23, 2015, there was a Diva’s tag match that lasted all of 30 seconds. The audience started a hashtag that trended for three-days worldwide called “#GiveDivasaChance. The online commentary was calling for longer women’s matches.



On Feb 23, 2015, there was a Diva’s tag match that lasted all of 30 seconds. The audience started a hashtag that trended for 3-days

“The chairman responded.”



At NXT, a group of young women had already grabbed that brass ring. Sometimes, a lot of times, outshining their male counterparts. -HHH



Stephanie tying the Divas revolution to other movements: US Women's Soccer team ratings, Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey.







Paul Levesque welcomes the women's champions of Raw, Smackdown and NXT.
Bayley announces "this summer" will have women's tournament





WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

Will feature "32 women from 17 countries" .
Asuka cuts a promo in Japanese and English "I'm proud to be part of the women's evolution"







Crowd in business suits really just doesn't know what to make of seeing Asuka in her wrestling gear at 9 AM in a hotel conference room.



The founder of the Business Partner of the Year awards. The man who challenged every one of you years ago to think bigger when it came to partnering with WWE. He is an actor, reality star, television host, executive producer, musician, philanthropist and 16-time WWE champion.





Ladies & Gentlemen - John Cena!

Stephanie is on very short list of people who are brave enough who, when I do something stupid, which is often, will tell me it's stupid.

But also in the same breathe, provide help and insight to turn it around - simply because we have the same goal - success. - John Cena



Cena uses a towel prop to announce the Business Partner of the Year.
The winner is Snickers.



Ray starts by thanking other nominees. 



Ray Amati: "Sometimes I look on my calendar and see a meeting that says 'Discuss Booty-O's' -- I really don't have a lot of meetings like that."

Ray talks about how he talked to "WWE Superstar Strowman" at breakfast that morning about his love of "driving emotion with the fans".