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WWE NEWS: WWE reports full-year 2012 earnings - "core product" drives the yearly performance, Top 10 Revenue Sources

Feb 28, 2013 - 8:11:04 AM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

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WWE reported Thursday full-year 2012 revenue of $484.0 million, essentially even with $483.9 million in 2011.

WWE did report improved profit. Net Income was $31.4 million in 2012, compared to $24.8 million in 2011. This is partially due to 2011 weighed down by a Net Loss in Q4-2011 due to the effect of WWE Studios.

In WWE's four key business segments (Live & TV, Consumer Products, Digital Media, and WWE Studios), WWE reported two increases and two declines in total revenue for the year. Live & TV increased 4.1 percent and Digital Media increased 23 percent, but Consumer Produces decreased 7.5 percent and WWE Studios decreased 62 percent.

Essentially, WWE's business was boosted by increased revenue and profitability from their "core product" of wrestling programming. This is identified by WWE adding a third hour of Raw mid-2012, launching two new shows at the tail-end of the year, and their agreements with YouTube and Hulu, which provided a 23 percent annual increase in Digital Media Revenue. Plus, the benefit of WrestleMania 28's record-breaking business.

The one area where WWE's "core product" struggled was in Live Events, which declined from 2011. WWE reported $103.7 million in live event revenue, down one percent from $104.7 million in 2012. However, this was more than made up for by a near-$10 million increase in TV Rights Fees and a near-$5.0 million increase in PPV Revenue.

At least publicly, the growth in WWE's "core product" is giving WWE more confidence in a Network launch that would be built around their wrestling content.

“Although we did not announce the launch of a domestic television network during the year, we believe, now more than ever, that we can realize the full value of our intellectual property using a variety of approaches in our global markets," said WWE CEO Vince McMahon. "Our confidence is based on the rising value of content and the tremendous global appeal of our brands.”

WWE CFO George Barrios noted that WWE's EBITDA figure of $77 million was within the range of their yearly projection, albeit on the low-end.

“In 2012, our traditional core businesses (excluding the results of WWE Studios and network-related expenses) delivered EBITDA of $77 million, in line with our performance over the preceding four years, which has ranged from $76 million to $96 million," said Barrios.

Barrios noted that to improve long-term revenue, the company believes "it is critical that we invest in our production and creative capabilities." WWE stressed "creative capabilities" throughout their press release, but did not identify what that entails.

Moving forward, Barrios noted that WWE's 2013 earnings will likely be in-line with 2012.

Top 2012 Revenue Contributors

(1) TV Rights Fees - $139.5 million
(2) Live Events - $103.7 million
(3) PPV Revenue - $83.6 million
(4) Licensing - $46.3 million
(5) Home Video - $33.0 million
(6) WWE.com - $19.7 million
(7) Venue Merch - $18.8 million
(8) WWEShop - $14.8 million
(9) WWE Studios - $7.9 million
(10) Magazines Revenue - $6.0 million


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