– Here are some highlights from the WWE conference call today with investors. The call began at 11:02AM and ended at 11:27.
* Vice President Michael White and Vince McMahon opened the call. Vince says they had a good third quarter and discusses attendance, noting that average attendance is up 9%. Vince says ratings are up 23% in this quarter compared to last year.
* Vince talks about WWE Studios and says it’s a natural extension of WWE’s business. He talks about how they have changed their thinking to go with smaller budgets and direct to DVD releases. He says something about nobody buys WWE stock just for their films.
* Vince talks about Linda McMahon leaving WWE and says he has taken over her duties. He mentions Shane also leaving but says the WWE management team is stronger than ever. He says Shane is leaving to pursue other interests in the marketplace. Vince says in WWE, you are judged on the way you perform and not because your last name is McMahon.
* George Barios joined the call and talks about revenue growing but pay-per-views struggling. Live events and merchandise sales were strong this quarter both domestically and internationally. They talk about how good they’re doing internationally.
* WWE is still working on cutting operating costs by $20 million and that should show more by the end of the fourth quarter. They are operating with good cash in hand still and virtually no debt.
* A WWE TV network is still being looked into.
* The first question in the Q&A session is about increased attendance. Lower ticket prices have helped they say. They talk about the partnership with the Army National Guard being beneficial for both sides.
* A question is asked about them not using old footage in more DVD releases and on demand services. Donna Goldsmith says they do use a lot of the old footage and mentions the WWE network they want to get off the ground, saying it would use a lot more of the old footage.
* A question is asked about WWE cutting back on the pay-per-view schedule. They say they will look into adding and subtracting events on a show-by-show basis.