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   Tue, November 23, 2004



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WWE releases 2nd quarter earnings
By JON WALDMAN - SLAM! Wrestling




World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. has announced its second quarter earnings for the 2004-05 fiscal year, and not surprisingly, the numbers aren't quite as high as they were in the past.

The WWE reported income from continuing operations to be $3.0 million, a number which is less than 1/6th of last year's $16.8 million last year. Revenues as a whole have also dropped, down from $94.4 million to $83.9 million.

In a release, WWE attributed these decreases to lower TV advertising and pay-per-view buyrates. The release also noted the change in pay-per-views compared to the previous year, with the switch from a traditional four pay-per-view schedule to the three Sunday events and the mid-week Taboo Tuesday.

This quarter saw 83 live events, 15 of which were international shows, more than twice the amount from last year (seven). Linda McMahon, CEO of WWE, was quick to point out positives for the company internationally while trying to downplay negative house show attendance. "While the attendance of our domestic live events and pay-per-view buys for the current quarter did not achieve the levels anticipated, our international tours in the quarter were very successful," she said in a release.

Also included in the report were buyrates for recent WWE pay-per-views. Taboo Tuesday was the lowest on the list, with 135,000 buys. The number is worsened when you consider that the pay-per-view it replaced from last year's quarter, WWE Vengeance, drew 322,000 buys. Also of note, Summerslam, one of the "big four" WWE PPVs, dropped in buys from 415,000 to 387,000 this year.

Merchandise sales also fell. Overall, WWE had $17.1 million in sales, a $600,000 drop from the pervious year. On a positive note, the home video net revenues were up $400,000 (now at $4.5 million).

TV ad revenue fell a whopping 45 percent from a year ago, and promotions and marketing expenses grew 73 percent.

The WWE also lowered expectations for 2005, saying that it expects fiscal 2005 revenue to reach $345 million to $355 million, from an earlier range of $345 million to $365 million.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.