WWE has announced their financial earnings reports for the fourth quarter and full year of 2019, as well as the full year business outlook for 2020.
The report made sure to highlight the company’s achievement of reaching the highest revenue in its history, as well a 87% increase in operating income. Also of note is lower ticket sales due to 56 fewer live events and lower average attendance, as well as a decline in WWE Network subscribers and revenue.
Fourth Quarter 2019 Highlights
• Revenues increased 18% to $322.8 million, which was the highest quarterly revenue in WWE history
• Operating income increased 87% to $99.8 million
• Adjusted OIBDA1 increased 67% to a quarterly record of $107.6 million
Full Year 2019 Highlights
- Revenues reached $960.4 million, the highest in the Company’s history
- Operating income was $116.5 million
- Adjusted OIBDA of $180.0 million represented record performance for the third consecutive year
- SmackDown successfully transitioned to FOX Broadcast, where viewership increased by 20% over the prior year fourth quarter,2 and NXT extended its reach, airing live on USA Network for the first time
- WWE completed content distribution agreements with BT Sport and ViacomCBS’ Channel 5 in the U.K., Fox Sports in Latin America, PP Sports in China and SuperSport in Africa, providing strong platforms for reaching WWE audiences in these regions
- Digital engagement continued to grow with video views up 10% to 34.5 billion and hours consumed up 7% to nearly 1.3 billion across digital and social media platforms3
- Return of capital to shareholders totaled a record $120.8 million in 2019 Full Year 2020 Business OutlookManagement believes that WWE is well positioned to take advantage of significant growth opportunities. The Company is pursuing several strategic initiatives that could increase the monetization of its content in 2020 and/ or subsequent years. These include distribution of content in the Middle East and India as well as the evaluation of strategic alternatives for the Company’s direct-to-consumer service, WWE Network. At this time, the outcome of these initiatives is subject to considerable uncertainty. Excluding the potential impact of these initiatives, the Company estimates it can achieve 2020 Adjusted OIBDA of $250 – $300 million.4 Management believes it has the potential to exceed this range, but is unable to provide additional guidance at this time. (See 2020 Business Outlook discussion on page 8 for additional information)
“During the fourth quarter, we expanded the reach of WWE’s live programming and further engaged with diverse audiences across platforms and formats,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “We believe the value of live sports will continue to increase, particularly in today’s evolving media landscape, and we are well positioned to take advantage of this trend to maximize the value of our content.”
“For the year, we achieved record revenue and Adjusted OIBDA. However, with the delay in completing a Middle East distribution agreement as well as lower business performance than anticipated, our results were at the low-end of guidance,” added Frank Riddick, interim Chief Financial Officer. “As we work to strengthen engagement in 2020, we are pursuing several strategic initiatives that could increase the monetization of our content, including the distribution of content in the Middle East and India as well as strategic alternatives for our direct-to-consumer service, WWE Network. Excluding the potential impact of these initiatives, we expect significant revenue growth based on the full year impact of our new content distribution agreements in the U.S. and anticipate Adjusted OIBDA of $250 to $300 million. Management believes it has the potential to exceed this range, but is unable to provide additional guidance at this time.”
Full press release available here.
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