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   Thu, March 2, 2006



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Profits up for WWE in 3rd quarter
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. announced its quarterly earnings today, with $103.0 million in revenue and $13.6 million in profits.

Compared to the same quarter last year, the revenue was up from $82.7 million and the profits were up from $10.9 million.

Later in the day, WWE held a conference call with its investors. Michael Sileck, CFO for WWE, handled all questions, as CEO Linda McMahon was ill with laryngitis. Below are highlights from the call.

  • In a prepared statement read by Sileck, McMahon commented that, "we had another great quarter."
  • Across the board, PPV buys are up, as is house show attendance.
  • Thus far, approximately 178,000 copies of the Bret Hart bio-DVD have been sold. That number, as well as the ECW "Bloodsport" DVD, which has had strong sales thus far, are expected to increase in Q4.
  • Other DVD numbers (approximates) included 217,000 copies sold of the Undertaker three-disc set, which amounts to the highest number of DVDs sold for any non-PPV recording. WrestleMania XXI has sold 250,000 copies, a record number for a PPV DVD, and more than 20,000 copies of the WWE Anthology have been sold.
  • WrestleMania XXII will be released on DVD in Q1 2007.
  • Negotiations are on-going at this point for WWE! Smackdown to stay on UPN. The channel, as noted in previous SLAM! stories, will be merging with the WB Network in the fall.
  • Stacy Kiebler's contract expires this summer. Sileck noted that, "we think she represented WWE well," and that the Fed is, "hopeful," to renew the Dancing with the Stars finalist. Kiebler is expected to be back as part of WWE storylines in the near future.
  • WWE has acquired the Florida Championship Wrestling tape archive with a value set at $1 million. It was an essential purchase for a Dusty Rhodes DVD.
  • Kane's movie See No Evil is set for a May 19 release from Lion's Gate Films.
  • Shooting for the first Steve Austin movie will begin in the spring.
  • WWE will retain the negatives and all DVD rights for WWE Films movies.
  • Sky Italia is now a carrier for WWE 24/7. Negotiations are ongoing with other carriers, but no Canadian companies were noted.
  • Revenues from merchandise rose to $9.5 million. WWEShop.com had a noted increase in sales.
  • Licensing is up 20 per cent from last year. This includes heavy sales of Smackdown vs. RAw 2006, available on Playstation 2 and Playstation Portable. The current agreement with Sony/Playstation is for a 12 month period.

Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.

-- with files from Canoe wire services.