– WWE is now shopping their TV programs to other distributors after they failed to reach a deal with NBC Universal. While NBCU’s exclusive negotiating window expired last Friday, they still have the right to match any other offer WWE receives. The Los Angeles Times reports that NBCU and WWE are “far apart” on a price. WWE has hired Chris Bevilacqua, head of media advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, to negotiate for them.
– As noted WWE held their conference call yesterday and George Barrios said the following about TV numbers and the WWE Network:
*Total Divas has helped drive up TV revenue.
*George noted that WWE has the second highest selling line of action figure brands in the country.
*The WWE Studios division did much better this fourth quarter. They plan to stay the course with the studio this year.
*Salaries grew 2.7% largely due to getting ready for the Network.
They feel that in the US, they can get two to three million subscribers for The Network eventually. They expect to get one million by the end of the year.
They expect to launch the Network outside of the US by the end of 2014, or early next year.
He said that due to the variables in place (the Network, PPV cannibalization, etc.) 2014 could see lower earnings than 2013. He said he expected a net loss of 12 to 15 million dollars in the first quarter of this year, due to a few issues and the launch of the Network.
He said that due to those variables, and not know the status of the TV deals or the subscriber base for the Network, he expects they will have a better idea of guidance for the year at the first quarter conference call in May.
They will give a Network Subscriber update on April 7, the day after WrestleMania.