Management of World Wrestling Entertainment Best said – WWE is not a tech company, instead operating as a streaming service, it now wants to get back to creating content.
WWE will host the Super Bowl this weekend with WrestleMania on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service as part of a more than $ 1 billion franchise deal that is shifting its longstanding entertainment firm’s position to aim Focus on the product and avoid the streaming wars.
“In the end, we̵7;re not a tech company and shouldn’t be trying to be,” WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told CNBC. “We are a content company at our core and we want to do what we can. Best “
Kristina Salen, Chief Financial Officer added: “Everyone has a good deal. There are Disney +, Paramount +, Discovery +, but not everyone has branded content with a large fan base like WWE, so we see that there is a lot of sense. So much needed for what we offer. And we can take that amount and double down and do what we do best, which is the content.
The focus on content creation illustrates a narrative that goes against the streaming wars where companies build apps and services full of movies and TV shows WWE is phasing out its own streaming service. And focus on creating new things for people to watch. Peacock
Content games are just the beginning of WWE in this new decade as it prepares for a post-COVID world with new revenue-generating possibilities, but in the future, the question will also be whether WWE is a smart investment. No, and how do you plan to get closer to a competition that wants to threaten market share?
Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer of WWE speaks during Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal on November 6, 2018.
Pedro Fiúza | NurPhoto | Getty Images
Like the rest of the entertainment world, WWE had to reinvent it right after the outbreak last March.The company moved its activities to Florida to continue and save media rights. It adapted to no audience by turning fireworks-filled content into more cinematic production in a wrestling match.
“It’s like a movie,” McMahon said, after describing the Undertaker-style pairing for a long time last year. And the real innovation comes with an investment in Thunderdome, an indoor facility built in Florida to host the event.
“We experimented with the pirate camera, an augmented reality that we couldn’t have been able to do before, mostly because of the bodies living on real ground,” added McMahon. “It will take a lot of testing and learn what makes sense to go ahead and try something different,” she said.
The real transformation of WWE began before Covid-19, when President and CEO Vince McMahon fired two key executives in January 2020.The turmoil in the transition was focused on different visions of the future.
In 2014, former WWE co-chair George Barrios saw the value of the company’s new streaming service cost $ 10 a month and helped the company switch away from traditional pay-per-view, but WWE failed to increase its subscriber count. It reaches about a million people in the United States.The company also quits another failed professional football startup with the XFL.
WWE Network dismantled its US operations to kick off 2021 and signed a contract with Peacock.The movement provides live coverage of WWE events and a library of classic wrestling for Peacock members.
“It’s a big win for WWE,” said Dan Cohen, media rights expert. “Prices go down, so you hope your followers and eyeballs get higher. They leave the tech space and don’t need minute-to-minute maintenance and technology updates.”
Etsy’s former CFO Salen is one of two new executives hired in 2020.She helped Etsy go public in 2015 and is now partially responsible for WWE’s financial future, including merchandising, e-commerce and corporate sponsorship. There will be many new features, campaigns with long-term partners, Procter & Gamble.
In its 2020 fourth quarter report, WWE said it hit $ 84 million and grossed $ 238.2 million, but even though WWE held most of its events without fans last year. But it still made $ 970 million in royalties from Fox Corp. and NBCUniversal.
WWE currently has a market capitalization of about $ 4 billion and is trading at around $ 55 per share.Salen said the WWE network was not losing money. But again, the C-Suite consensus is focused on raising licensing fees around content and stopping operations like Netflix.
“Just as we were first in pay-per-view, first in direct delivery, and now we’re the first to go back to being a data aggregator,” Salen said. That’s right, and over the next few years, we’re pretty sure we’ll be proven right. ”
Salen said the question she often gets with Wall Street: Why should investors be interested in WWE stocks?
“Investors know that I choose to spend my time in a place that I ultimately think is valuable to create,” she replied. Create additional value for shareholders “
There are no concerns for the competition.
WrestleMania 37 is scheduled this weekend at Raymond James Stadium, home of the National Football League’s Super Bowl LV, which takes place in February.
It’s a bank with 25,000 fans showing up, and McMahon said the event would mimic many of the NFL’s Covid-19 protocol, such as seat pods, hand sanitizer mask distribution. “Only the configuration is different because we can have people get to the ground,” she added.
WWE wants to return to the arena, and perhaps more than professional leagues.The company makes a significant portion of the revenue from live ticket sales and travel more often throughout the year.
“As soon as Arena is open for business, we can get started,” Slane said, “but we need a large number of important platforms open to businesses for us to do so, and we don’t see that right now. “
WWE also has to investigate other companies that want to gain market share. WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports property has reinvested in fighting All Elite Wrestling (AEW) .The network hosted a major wrestling company in 2001 when it owned the World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which was acquired by WWE.
AEW is run by Tony Khan, son of Shahid Khan, owner of the National Football League team and is financially funded. And until now has been praised by the production work
“Theatrical good,” said Cohen. “The quality is good, the AEW is lacking, even in the power of the stars.”
Internet chatter suggests WWE will spend money to prevent AEW from accomplishing its mission. Asked about it, Salen said the rumors were incorrect. She added that AEW is more competitive for the NXT qualification, this division is like the NBA’s G League for wrestlers.
“We have always had a lot of competition as part of the game,” Slane said. “Inside we are more focused on Game 7 of the World Series and if Raw is going to fight it.”
Vince McMahon, President of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and wrestler Triple H appear in the ring during WWE Monday Night Raw at Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009.
Ethan Miller | Getty ImagesEntertainment Getty Images
What is the future of WWE?
But even if WWE was able to hold back the main challenger again. But cannot stop the future And among the key questions to be faced: How long will Vince McMahon remain as CEO? Who will replace him?
His daughter said it would be a collaboration of She decided to “institutional knowledge” when her father decided to abandon it.
“Nobody had the experience and expertise and passion to build and grow this company from a small regional business to an incredible growing company today,” McMahon said.
Describe the future of WWE in the long run. McMahon uses the company’s slogan to “summarize everything about WWE,” she said. “That’s now and forever.”
Disclosure: Peacock is the streaming service of CNBC’s parent company NBCUniversal.