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December 11, 2013

WWE's George Barrios Talks Network Online vs. TV, New RAW and SmackDown Deals, More

WWE's Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios spoke at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference today. Here are some notes:

* If WWE were to leave USA Network, USA would go from #1 in prime-time to #4 or #5, which gives WWE leverage.

* Barrios said any top 50 network could pick up RAW or SmackDown and it would get them into the top 10

* WWE viewers watch their TV shows like a sports shows and sports are getting big increases in rights fees.

* They still may start the WWE Network on TV and not the internet. On the internet, WWE still needs 1 million subscribers per month to break even because there are additional costs they wouldn't have running a network on TV.

* They are hoping to sign new contracts for RAW and SmackDown by the end of April.

* Barrios noted that WWE gets one-fifth to one-tenth the money for their programming per viewer watching than NHL, NASCAR, NBA and MLB.

* They believe India will be huge for them long term.

* They believe their TV is more valuable than NASCAR, which gets six times as much money, because their viewer numbers are the same but NASCAR viewers are far more skewed over age 40.

* One year ago, WWE's data showed doing a network on the internet wasn't viable. Today they believe it is because of changing viewer habits.


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