Friday, April 21, 2017

2017 WWE Business Partner Summit

2017 WWE Business Partner Summit

* 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 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.


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.

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.

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


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.



* $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.


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.


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".


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.


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.


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.

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!


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.


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

Exclusive Presenting Partner of WrestleMania 33


John Brody Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Partnerships

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".


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

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



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


#2 Action Figures behind Star Wars

Crash Cage came to live at NXT, Raw



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


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


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”


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 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


(Diamond play button)

(He’s been a rising star since Gerrit Meier left last year.)

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)

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".


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 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


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".