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Showing posts with label Nick Khan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nick Khan. Show all posts

August 22, 2021

Nick Khan Comments On Recent Releases

“There’s a collective of us, keep in mind at WWE their is one boss, that’s Vince as we all know. Between Bruce Prichard who oversees the entire creative process, Kevin Dunn, who oversees all of our production, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Levesque are all involved in these decisions, with ultimately Vince making the final decision on everything”

“I don’t know if there is one explanation for it, ultimately what’s looked at, ‘Is this person for us going move to the needle now or in the imminent future’. ‘We signed a dozen new talent, we’re always looking for what’s next. We live in the present, we live in the future, 7 don’t live in the past”

WWE'S Nick Khan Promises Imminent NXT Revamp

WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan says that a "revamp" of NXT is underway and that changes to the product will be seen within a couple of weeks. 

In an interview with Ariel Helwani for BT Sport, Khan said that Triple H is leading the changes. 

"We're doing a complete revamp on NXT, led by Triple H, Paul Levesque, who is really one of the architects of the original NXT," said Khan. 

"In terms of an NXT rebrand, look for it in the next couple of weeks. It's gonna have a whole new look, it's gonna have a whole new feel."

Khan also indicated a change in philosophy when it comes to recruiting talent for NXT. 

"What we believe, because of lot of the 'indie wrestlers' if you will have come through our system and are in our system with SmackDown and Raw now, we don't want to just keep doing that same thing," said Khan.  "We want to look elsewhere for great young talent."

Khan also spoke of a more direct kind of developmental system, comparing it to high school and college football talent recruiting. 

"So what we found, it's part of why we did the tryout [Las Vegas tryout on Friday], what we want to make sure is it's easy for folks who want to be WWE superstars figuring out how to be WWE superstars," said Khan. 

"If you think of the life of an elevated athlete throughout their career, the opportunity to go play somewhere has always been easy, being able to play somewhere is not... If you're an amazing high school football player, colleges come after you, you get recruited, you go into their system, and either you make it or you don't make it. All that it takes to get there? Difficult. The system? Not difficult," said Khan. 

"We want our system to be an easy system where people who want to be superstars know how to get to us and we can get to them."

Nick Khan On WWE Sale Rumors, 'We’re Not Trying To Sell It'

During a recent interview with the Recode Media podcast, the WWE President Nick Khan said WWE is "open for business on anything and everything" when he was asked if WWE is looking to put itself up for sale.

His comments during that interview had people speculating that the company would be prepared to sell, especially given the amount of WWE in the last year which some say is so the company can maximize its selling potential.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani promoting SummerSlam weekend, Khan clarified his comments noting the company isn't in talks about a potential sale.

"When I say we’re ‘open for business’ that means if someone credible calls on anything—NFT, trading cards, international rates—we take the call. We’re inherently sales people, meaning we’re not like, ‘We don’t want to talk to this company because we think they’re…’ If you call and you want to pitch us something and you’re credible, we’re going to hear the pitch. We’re an entrepreneurial company that Vince and others built over the last 35 years or so, and we always want to stay fresh and entrepreneurial. 

"In our minds, when I say open for business, if somebody calls, credible, asking ‘are you for sale?’ it’s ‘what’s your offer, what are you thinking?’ We’re not trying to sell it, that’s not our intent. There are no internal meetings about selling this company. The internal meetings are about growing it and the ability that we think we collectively have to tremendously grow what the value of the company is now."

August 19, 2021

Nick Khan On WWE Possibly Being Sold, Vince McMahon Stepping Down

WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan was on the latest episode of the Recode Media podcast with Peter Kafka. The two discussed WWE’s big media rights deals despite declining TV viewership across all of TV. Khan discussed that topic and explained why he doesn’t see advertisers moving away from TV anytime soon.

“I think you’ve seen it in primetime scripted television,” Khan stated. “When you and I were kids, and Archie Bunker did a 15 rating and made significant amount of money at that time for Norman Lear, and the studio and everybody behind it. Now you’re seeing shows in primetime that do a one in the demo, where significant dollars are paid for that.

“So 1/15 and again, the 15 million was the overall audience but even less than 1/15 of what the audience was 30 years ago, still commanding top dollar.  I’m not sure that you’ve seen a mechanism come across for advertisers yet that is as effective as television, and put the streaming component in there on the ad supported tiers, it feels like it’s going to be around at a high level for a long time.”

On the Q2 earnings call, Vince McMahon created headlines when he said that he did not see AEW as competition. Khan spoke on WWE’s competition and talked about where his focus lies.

“We had an earnings call a couple of weeks ago, and I referenced the recent Reed Hastings line about sleep is our competition.” Khan noted. “That’s the challenge for us is how do you get people to tune into our product, instead of just sitting there in their bed and texting all night, or watching Tik Tok for free, or doing nothing, or listening to a podcast.

“It’s always tricky. In essence, I personally as, an agent, as an executive, I never look at anybody as competition. I just focus on what I’m doing, but in the totality of circumstance, you have to look at everything as your competition, without a specific focus on any one entity. So we hope the NFL continues to get great ratings. We hope the NBA continues to great ratings. What does it have to do with us? We just have to make sure our product is great.”

Kafka later asked Khan whether he would takeover McMahon as WWE CEO. Khan gave his opinion on the topic of McMahon stepping down from WWE.

“I don’t think Vince has any plans, nor in my opinion, should he have stepping aside,” Khan said. “He’s 75, will be 76 in a couple of weeks. He’s healthy. He’s strong so maybe he goes another 50 years and you’ll be asking me this question in 49 years.”

WWE have continued to make different types of business deals, most recently with The Ringer and Spotify. Khan discussed the topic of whether or not WWE will sell in the next year.

“We’re open for business on anything and everything, and even some of the business plans that we’ve announced recently, I think, are different or unique to what the company has traditionally done,” Khan pointed out. “So we’re open for business. If somebody calls, we’ll listen, but we’re not active. We’re not out in the marketplace trying to change that structure.”

October 29, 2020

Vince McMahon And WWE Executives Talk COVID-19, WWE NXT And Triple H, Saudi Arabia, More

WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, Chief Financial Officer Kristina Salen, and SVP Financial Planning & Investor Relations Michael Weitz are hosting a Third Quarter 2020 Earnings call today from WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT. You can check out coverage of this evening's press release at this link. Below are highlights from the call: Weitz opens the call and welcomes everyone, going over the usual intro. Vince took over and said he's never felt as confident as he does right now with the upper management team WWE has.

 It's extraordinary what the team has done for the business. He touted the new energy and vibrancy, and optimism. In regards to where they can go in the future, this is a fun and exciting place to be. He praised new WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan for what he's done to help the company, and revealed that Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon has taken on more responsibilities, praising her. Vince said he really feels great about the new WWE management team. Vince didn't get into the numbers, but says he just wanted to share how he feels about the current management team. He hands it over to Khan. Khan talks about his background since he's fairly new to the company. He mentions being an usher at WrestleMania 9 in Las Vegas. Khan says they are working to develop new WWE Studios content, including Total Bellas season 6 to premiere in November, and A&E's "Quest for Lost WWE Treasures" that will be hosted by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. This show will take viewers on the ultimate hunt to find some of WWE's most iconic lost memorabilia. This furthers the relationship with A&E. He mentions A&E has also ordered more episodes of the "Biography" documentaries.

Khan then announces that they have reached a groundbreaking new deal with Netflix, selling them a multi-part documentary on the life of Vince McMahon. This is one of the highest-budgeted documentaries in Netflix history. Bill Simmons will executive produce. Chris Smith, who directed Netflix's Fyre Fest documentary, will produce the Vince project, along with WWE Studios. Khan noted that they are still working on the alternate version of WWE Network but are unable to say when that will be ready. WWE Network subscriptions are up during the pandemic. Khan announces a 2021 event with Sony in India that will primarily feature Indian talent. It will air on Sony in India and will also be distributed here in the United States. Khan then introduces Stephanie. 

She talks about her role with the company and how everything they do is under the WWE Universe. She touts how WrestleMania 36 went from being sold out at Raymond James Stadium, to the "new normal" on a closed-set at the WWE Performance Center. Along with RAW and SmackDown, they experimented with new ways on the closed set but that wasn't good enough so they launched WWE ThunderDome, which made their shows feel alive again. They saw an increase in RAW and SmackDown ratings with the ThunderDome. She touts how they transformed the Performance Center arena into the Capitol Wrestling Center, the return to WWE NXT UK with BT Sports Studios in London. She mentioned how the production teams from Orlando, Stamford and London are working together, and praised the efforts. She also touted more than 50 billion video views on YouTube, and WWE changing their digital strategy, which led to more engagement. Stephanie also talked about how the company has been doing WWE Community virtual visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with UNICEF for their kids program and others. WWE's advertising campaigns and sponsor partnerships are outpacing industry standards and recent trends. Stephanie also touted recent celebrity involvement and how top brands continue to partner with WWE during the pandemic. She said WWE remains bullish, for 2021 and beyond, when it comes to growth, expansion, partnerships and everything else. New Chief Financial Officer Kristina Salen took over next and went over numbers from today's press release. WWE is evaluating their strategies for 2021 but the pandemic leaves a lot of uncertainty. She said RAW and SmackDown viewership improved from July - September, despite major sports competition. She said WWE can't say when ticketed live events will return at this point, but their intention is to return to live events as quickly and safety as possible. WWE anticipates Q4 2020 will have lower revenues than the same period in 2019. Part of the blame goes to the fact that they have no Saudi Arabia event in the quarter like they did in Q4 2019. WWE did not buy back any stock in Q3 under the buyback program, but they may in the future. It's now time for the Q&A portion of the call. They were asked about ratings and if there are any firm plans to improve them, and if ratings staying where they are will hurt negotiations for rights fees when they come back around. Vince said they have more fans than they've ever had but total audience is much bigger than just the TV audience. You can't just "hang your hat" on TV viewership being down. Vince mentioned how WWE is never off the air. You might say viewership is down but the overall viewership and engagement needs to be considered. WWE is doing everything they can to improve. The ThunderDome brought some fans back, but they want better execution of the creative, and better writing overall. Khan said TV in general has lost viewers but WWE viewership has not, overall. Consumption of WWE content is significantly up. WWE remains confident that TV rights fees will also go up. He touted how WWE topped the NHL Stanley Cup viewership in the key demographic, and they also did well against the Los Angeles Lakers playing at the end of the NBA season. They were asked about the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) TV rights and Vince said they are still negotiating them, and are still in contact with the Saudis. Vince said it will happen, but he doesn't know when. They were asked about potential WWE Network changes and they are open to anything except the sale of the Network, including licensing. WWE is in constant talks about possibly licensing the Network domestically and internationally. They are also constantly working on international ideas for content. The idea is to develop local content for international territories. There are currently no plans to add advertising to the WWE Network free version but this could change. Stephanie noted that they are testing different technologies that can be applied to different strategies. Salen noted that they are waiting for the return of live events and touring. They still have some employees who are furloughed, which makes for short-term financial cuts, but they are hoping to bring some of those employees back by the end of the year. In regards to if they will have no live events in 2021 or maybe for half of the year and if they will run the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia next year, Salen said they have not commented on the 2021 OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) but they are diligently working on 2021 financial and operational plans with the executive team, noting that she and Khan are still getting settled into the job. She said they will have an update on the strategic focus for 2021 the next time they meet with investors. Regarding the India event planned for 2021, they are seeking the right talents and the right structure so that the event makes sense for all parties involved. This will be with Sony in India. Khan noted that ratings in October have held up despite a "cluttered" fall TV season. When asked if there is anything that NXT does that could be used to improve RAW or SmackDown, Khan praised the blue and red brands for how they have held up. Vince was asked what he and the company needs to see before they are willing to bring fans back to events amid the pandemic. The call President Trump held earlier this year with sports league bosses was mentioned. Vince said he was on that call but that was the extent of his discussions with Trump on the matter. When the coronavirus eases up and it's safe for fans and talents, that's all he can say for now in regards to when fans will be allowed back like normal. They were asked about WWE NXT and the length of the deal with the USA Network. Khan gave props to Triple H and his team, and touted the NXT Halloween Havoc ratings for last night. He said they are comfortable with the position they have with USA, and are enjoying the relationship with the network. The platform has led to many eyeballs on the talent. They don't typically discuss the length of TV deals unless their partners are on board with them doing so, but they feel like this deal is certainly long enough for them to have a long runway for Triple H and his team to grow the product as they have been doing. Khan said they feel good about all three products and how they are headed in the right direction.

August 5, 2020

Nick Khan Heading From CAA To WWE In Powerhouse Move

Nick Khan, the powerful CAA agent, is leaving the agency to take a senior role at WWE. CAA’s former co-head of television has been named President & Chief Revenue Officer of WWE, reporting directly to Chair & CEO Vince McMahon. Khan replaces WWE’s former co-Presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, who left the company in January. A formal announcement will be made later today.

Khan joins the WWE at a time when its business is challenged: Ratings are soft and the pandemic restrictions have brought its live events business to a standstill. In a phone interview, Khan did not talk about specific plans he has for the job. “The first thing I want to do is figure out where the bathrooms are,” he joked. “We all have a lot of ideas in our head. It might be a little premature to share them in terms of when we are going to execute those.”

Khan joined CAA in '12 and quickly became one of the most powerful talent agents in the business, representing on-air personalities like Kirk Herbstreit, Colin Cowherd, Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose. CAA agents Matt Kramer and Tom Young will take on new roles as co-heads of the agency’s sports broadcasting division. In his CAA role, Khan also represented organizations like WWE, SEC and Top Rank Boxing in their media-rights deals. It was his work in securing WWE’s most recent deals with Fox and USA Network that opened McMahon’s eyes to the possibility of hiring Khan. “While representing WWE at CAA, he was instrumental in transforming our business model by securing domestic media rights increases of 3.6x over our previous agreements,” McMahon said in a prepared statement.

Khan referred to WWE as a “family business” that made him feel comfortable. He referenced a small 50th birthday party he and his wife, IVETTE, were invited to at Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s house last summer. “We looked around the room and said, ‘It’s really kind of them to consider us friends,’” he said. “For a family-run business -- albeit a publicly traded one -- it just felt right. At that moment, I started thinking, ‘I wonder if there’s something bigger and better to do with them.’”

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