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WWE NETWORK NEWS: CFO reveals why WWE is pushing forward with Network plans; first details on MNW-themed show

Dec 6, 2012 - 12:23:17 AM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

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WWE CFO George Barrios talked in-depth about why WWE decided to push forward with WWE Network plans during a presentation at the 40th Annual UBS Global Media conference in New York this week.

"We just believe there is too much there potentially not to keep pushing at it," Barrios said after acknowledging industry resistance to some of the Network models. "The drag on earnings is painful. It's painful to investors. It's painful to us but we just believe payoff could be too large so we are going to continue to push on that."

Barrios stressed throughout the presentation that WWE believes the more content they produce, the more revenue they can generate in the long-term because "the value of content is being driven up by the proliferation of distribution outlets."

In WWE's case, distribution would include a future Network, standard TV & PPV outlets, YouTube, Hulu, WWE App, and any other way consumers can consume video content.

"Wherever the video is being monetized, we see that the real opportunity," Barrios said. "We see growth there. Very high operating margins because we create our content once and then monetize it in a variety of those different platforms and also we have the ability to mine a significant library."

One of the library-related initiatives is creating new TV shows based on the existing content, such as turning the Monday Night Wars into a new series updated for this decade. Barrios revealed that the show is currently in production and will examine 2000-2001 leading up to WWE buying out WCW to "win the war."

"So we have done a good job but really we have only skimmed that library. So as we started thinking about best ways to monetize and there is different ones, there is big output deals you could sign is one example, the network, just we kept coming back to that as being the biggest bang for the buck. Now we don’t view the network as a catalog network. There will be powerful, compelling exclusive original content that will be the core because otherwise people aren’t going to either watch it in the numbers you want or pay for it if you go that model.

But we can wrap around some very fresh, compelling content that’s created from our 100,000 hour library. So for example, one of the shows that’s in production right now and it's tested really, really well in our focus group is the Monday Night Wars. It will be an episodic series, number of episodes be determined but somewhere between 10 to 15 episodes that looks at the year 2000 and 2001 battle between Ted Turner and Vince McMahon when they were on competing networks fighting for audience.

So there are some really cool things going on in the ring but there are some really interesting things going on outside the ring that would appeal to a slightly different audience and the lapse fan I talked about before, one of the kernels that we found was that the lapse fan really would be into reliving that a little bit. Especially parents with their kids on what to be able to talk to their kids about things that they were seeing and watching and so on.

So we think the network allows you to take thousand hours of the program which is a lot but it gives us that opportunity to own our content and also maximize significant amount of it. So that’s where that came from. It’s the ability mine that catalog in a fresh new way and also put new content out there."


[ LINK: Full Transcript of Barrios's conference presentation released here credit to SeekingAlpha.com ]

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