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THREE SERIES IN THE CAN AND WAITING FOR WWE NETWORK TO LAUNCH

By Mike Johnson on 2013-05-17 09:04:00
George Barrios, the Chief Financial Officer of WWE, hed a presentation at J.P. Morgan's 41st Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston earlier this week.

As part of the presentation, Barrios discussed the planned WWE Network, admitting the company has not been "great negotiators" thus far in the process - "We say we’re great partners and average negotiators." He mentioned a price point of $9.99 - $14.99 a month for the Network.

Barrios noted the PPV concept for WWE would change with "11 of the 12" PPVs moving to the Network live, i.e. everything but Wrestlemania and noted the Network could also feature "second window" airings on shows such as Raw and Smackdown, similar to repeat airing currently on Universal HD and other NBC Universal cable networks.

Barrios also gave details on three series that will be featured that have been produced:

"We've done the shows. The original shows were already in the can for launch. We’ve got three series, Monday Night Wars which chronicles the war between McMahon and Turner and what was going on in the ring and outside the ring. WWE Countdown, which is a half hour show of counting down top catchphrases, top finishing moves, top this, top that, a lot of fun and have social media element to it. People get to votes even though it’s in the can. We will be able to integrate that.

And then the third show is WrestleMania rewind, kind of great moments from WrestleMania Past. So that’s the kind of stuff we will do and we’ve tested those pilots with fans. And one of the nice things is, not only do the current passionate fans like it or casual -- and the casual but lapsed fans like a lot of that stuff, because they get to relive some of the past. And are really nicely curated ways, not such putting Raw footage on it, kind of contemporize and contextualize today, either with new stars, different people in pop-culture are part of the production. So that’s the programming.

And in our view, if we get two to four millions subscribers, obviously not at launch but when you get to steady state, it's transformational for us at a price point of $999 to $1,499. We’ve done a lot of research. It says that’s doable. Again, we will see when it comes.

No -- it would be kind of like in HBO, so you would be distributed through the MVPDs, cable, satellite and the telcos. Ongoing, I mean, one of the reasons that the launch has taken longer than we would've liked is those are not easy discussions to have, if you follow the industry. So we continue to talk to them. We think, eventually, they'll see the opportunity because we think we can grow that Pay-Per-View pie pretty significantly so."