News

WWE® Reports First Quarter 2019 Results

Maintains Path to Record Full-Year Performance

First Quarter 2019 Highlights

  • Revenues were $182.4 million as compared to $187.7 million in the
    prior year quarter
  • Operating income reflected a loss of $6.8 million as compared to
    income of $21.8 million in the prior year quarter
  • Adjusted OIBDA1 of $12.4 million was within the range of
    guidance ($9 million to $14 million), and reflected an anticipated
    year-over-year decline primarily due to strategic investments
  • WWE Network average paid subscribers2 increased 2%
    to 1.58 million paid subscribers, consistent with the Company’s
    guidance
  • Digital video views increased 15% to 7.7 billion; hours consumed
    increased 23% to 300 million hours across digital platforms; and
    social media followers increased 12% to over 1.0 billion3

Selected WrestleMania Highlights

  • WrestleMania (April 7, 2019) broke the record for MetLife
    Stadium’s highest grossing entertainment event at $16.9 million,
    attracting a capacity crowd of 82,265 fans
  • WWE Network subscribers viewed 23.2 million hours during WrestleMania
    week, which was roughly on par with the same week last year
  • During WrestleMania week, 17.9 million hours were consumed on
    digital and social media platforms, up 29% from the prior year
  • WWE Network’s total subscribers reached 2.0 million on April 8,
    2019, the day after WrestleMania
  • WrestleMania featured a historic, first-ever women’s main event
    starring Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its first quarter
ended March 31, 2019.

During the quarter, we continued to execute our strategy and achieved
targeted financial results,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer. “While engagement metrics over the past two quarters
were impacted by Superstar absences, we believe they will improve as our
talent return and we launch our new season following a successful WrestleMania.
We remain excited about the future, particularly with our debut on Fox
in October.”

George Barrios, Co-President, added “In the quarter, we delivered
Adjusted OIBDA within the range of our public guidance and continue to
target full-year record revenue of approximately $1 billion and record
Adjusted OIBDA of at least $200 million. Our primary focus is to deliver
record results while investing in our key priorities: content creation,
localization and digitization.”

First-Quarter Consolidated Results

Revenues were $182.4 million as compared to $187.7 million from
the prior year quarter as the increased monetization of content as
reflected in the Media segment was more than offset by a reduction in
live event ticket revenue and lower merchandise sales.

Operating Income was a loss of $6.8 million as compared to income
of $21.8 million in the prior year quarter, reflecting a decline in
revenue and increased fixed costs, including strategic investments, as
well as higher stock compensation costs driven by the increase in the
Company’s stock price. The Company’s Operating income margin declined to
(4%) from 12% in the prior year quarter.

Adjusted OIBDA (which excludes stock compensation) was $12.4
million as compared to $35.2 million. The results reflected an
anticipated decline and were within the range of the Company’s guidance
($9 million to $14 million). The Company’s Adjusted OIBDA margin
decreased to 7% from 19%.

Net Income reflected a loss of $8.4 million, or a loss of $0.11
per diluted share, as compared to net income of $14.8 million, or
earnings of $0.18 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2018. This
decrease was primarily driven by the change in operating performance.

Effective Tax Rate was 26%, consistent with that of the prior
year quarter.

Cash flows generated by operating activities reached $6.7 million
as compared to $2.6 million in the prior year quarter as favorable
changes in working capital more than offset lower operating performance.

Free Cash Flow demonstrated a $10.1 million use of cash as
compared to a $1.8 million use of cash in the first quarter of 2018 as
the change in operating cash flow was offset by a $12.4 million increase
in capital expenditures primarily associated with the Company’s
workspace plan.4

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments were $338
million as of March 31, 2019, and the Company estimates debt
capacity
under its revolving line of credit of approximately $100
million.

First-Quarter Key Operating Metrics

During the fourth quarter 2018 earnings call, WWE management discussed
the absence of several talent and their belief that these absences had a
negative impact on the Company’s engagement metrics. Management believes
that these absences continued to impact engagement in the first quarter
2019 as domestic TV ratings for Raw and SmackDown declined
approximately 14% and 13%, respectively, and average attendance at the
Company’s live events in North America declined 11%. WWE Network
average paid subscribers increased 2% and digital video consumption
increased 23%. Looking to the future, management believes the Company’s
engagement metrics will improve with the return of its talent, the
emergence of new storylines and new Superstars, and as the Company
launches a new season of WWE following a successful WrestleMania.
Moreover, management remains excited about the debut of SmackDown Live
on Fox in October. The debut will mark the first time WWE will be
available live 52 weeks a year on a premier broadcast platform. In
addition to absolute performance, management believes

relative performance is critically important as it illuminates the value
of WWE within the pay TV ecosystem. In the first quarter, when excluding
NASCAR’s premier event, The Daytona 500, WWE delivered greater
average viewership than any professional sports league other than the
NFL.5

The schedule below reflects WWE’s performance by operating segment (in
millions):1

           
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2019 2018
Net Revenues:
Media $ 135.4 $ 133.4
Live Events 26.2 30.8
Consumer Products   20.8   23.5
Total Net Revenues $ 182.4 $ 187.7
 
Operating (Loss) Income:
Media $ 16.3 $ 35.9
Live Events (0.2) 2.9
Consumer Products 5.0 6.0
Corporate   (27.9)   (23.0)
Total Operating (Loss) Income $ (6.8) $ 21.8
 
Adjusted OIBDA:
Media $ 28.5 $ 43.6
Live Events 0.8 3.6
Consumer Products 6.0 6.9
Corporate   (22.9)   (18.9)
Total Adjusted OIBDA $ 12.4 $ 35.2
 

Results by Operating Segment

Media

Revenues increased to $135.4 million from $133.4 million in the
prior year quarter, primarily due to the contractual escalation of core
content rights fees. The growth was partially offset by lower
advertising sales, particularly on YouTube, and the unfavorable timing
of advertising and sponsorship sales across other platforms.

WWE Network’s average paid subscribers increased 2% to
approximately 1.58 million. For the second quarter 2019, the Company
projects average paid subscribers of approximately 1.70 million,
representing a year-over-year decline of 5%.2,6 The Company’s
primary focus for WWE Network is the launch of its new platform
in partnership with Endeavor Streaming and Massive. This new platform
will provide flexibility to bring new features and experiences to the
Company’s fans and enable the delivery of content in multiple languages.

           
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2019 2018
Revenues:
Network (including pay-per-view) $ 47.0 $ 46.8
Core content rights fees 7 68.1 65.5
Advertising and sponsorship 10.9 12.2
Other 8   9.4   8.9
Total Revenues $ 135.4 $ 133.4
 

Operating income was $16.3 million as compared to $35.9 million
in the prior year quarter as the growth in revenue was more than offset
by increased fixed costs, including strategic investments, and higher
stock compensation costs driven by the increase in the Company’s stock
price.

Adjusted OIBDA was $28.5 million as compared to $43.6 million in
the prior year quarter.

Key Highlights: During the quarter, Monday Night Raw
and SmackDown Live remained the highest-rated programs on USA
Network. The Company completed its fourth season of Total Bellas,
renewed Miz & Mrs for a second season in 2020 and announced
the development of new original content. This includes plans to create a
weekly studio show on Fox Sports 1, which will debut this fall, and five
documentaries on legendary WWE talent to be produced in partnership with
A&E Network under its iconic “Biography” banner. On the Company’s
streaming service, WWE Network, pay-per-views, other in-ring
content and original series continued to drive viewer engagement. In
addition to its pay-per-view events, the Network’s most viewed programs
included NXT TakeOver: Phoenix and NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool,
the documentary series, WWE Chronicle and WWE 24, and the
Network exclusive, Halftime Heat, which aired live during Super
Bowl halftime and trended worldwide on Twitter. The Company added more
than 75 hours of original content to WWE Network’s featured
programming and 420 hours of archival content, which resulted in an
on-demand library of nearly 12,000 hours at quarter-end. For its social
and digital platforms, the Company produced nearly 200 hours of original
content.

Live Events

Revenues declined 15% to $26.2 million due to weaker performance
of events in North America, which reflected lower average attendance and
the staging of nine fewer events. Average attendance at these events
declined 11% to 4,800. The average ticket price of $52.38 was
essentially unchanged from the prior year quarter. There were no Raw
or SmackDown events held in international markets.

           
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2019 2018
Revenues:
North American ticket sales $ 24.1 $ 29.8
International ticket sales 0.2
Advertising and sponsorship 0.4 0.2
Other 9   1.5   0.8
Total Revenues $ 26.2 $ 30.8
 

Operating income reflected a loss of $0.2 million as compared to
income of $2.9 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the
reduction in ticket sales (as described above).

Adjusted OIBDA was $0.8 million as compared to $3.6 million in
the prior year quarter.

Key Highlights: WWE continued to stage large-scale, action-packed
events for its fans. During the quarter, Royal Rumble attracted
more than 48,000 fans at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. The Company
also announced that Royal Rumble will be held at Minute Maid Park
in Houston, Texas in 2020, marking the second consecutive year the event
will be held at a Major League Baseball stadium. Highlighting the
success of its UK developmental brand, NXT UK held its first-ever live
special, NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool, before a sold-out crowd at
the Empress Ballroom. Furthering the Company’s efforts to expand its
global talent base, WWE held its first-ever tryout in India, the largest
in WWE history, which featured more than 70 participants, and recently
announced a talent tryout in China this Summer.

Consumer Products

Revenues decreased 11% to $20.8 million primarily due to lower
sales of merchandise at the Company’s e-commerce site, WWE Shop, and
live-event venues, where the latter can be attributed, in part, to lower
attendance (as described above).

           
 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2019 2018
Revenues:
Consumer product licensing $ 9.4 $ 9.3
eCommerce 6.6 8.4
Venue merchandise   4.8   5.8
Total Revenues $ 20.8 $ 23.5
 

Operating income was $5.0 million as compared to $6.0 million in
the prior year quarter reflecting the reduction in revenue.

Adjusted OIBDA was $6.0 million as compared to $6.9 million in
the prior year quarter.

Key Highlights: During the quarter, the Company continued to
develop new licensing partnerships across product categories. This
included recent agreements with New Era Cap, making the brand the
official headwear partner of WWE, and Roblox, a multiplayer online
platform with 80 million monthly active users, which are primarily kids.
As of quarter-end, the Company had nearly 110 million installs across
its mobile game portfolio.

Second Quarter 2019 Business Outlook

For the second quarter 2019, the Company estimates Adjusted OIBDA of $19
million to $24 million.6 This range of results represents a
year-over-year decline in Adjusted OIBDA driven by increases in fixed
costs, including the timing of strategic investments.

Financial Outlook 2019

In 2019, WWE management is targeting another year of record revenue of
approximately $1.0 billion and, as previously communicated, Adjusted
OIBDA of at least $200 million, which would also be an all-time record
(up at least 12% from Adjusted OIBDA of $178.9 million in 2018).6

Achieving the targeted range of full year results assumes substantial
revenue, which supports Adjusted OIBDA of at least $100 million in the
fourth quarter. Importantly, the Company’s new content distribution
agreements in the U.S., which become effective in that period, provide
significant visibility into that expectation, and moreover, into the
strong year-over-year growth that is anticipated in 2020.

Management believes that increasing fan engagement over the next few
years can enhance WWE’s brand value and strengthen the Company’s
long-term growth. Supporting these objectives, the Company plans to
continue to invest in content, digitization and international
development. Key areas of investment for 2019 include strengthening
WWE’s talent base, delivering more localized content, developing the
next iteration of the WWE Network service, and leveraging fan
data to improve business performance. In 2019, management will continue
to evaluate WWE’s financial performance and to balance current earnings
with investments that strengthen engagement and drive long-term growth.

WWE is unable to provide a reconciliation of second quarter or full year
guidance to GAAP measures as, at this time, WWE cannot accurately
determine all of the adjustments that would be required.

Notes

(1) The definition of Adjusted OIBDA can be found in the Non-GAAP
Measures section of the release on page 7-8. A reconciliation of three
months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 Operating Income to Adjusted OIBDA
can be found in the Supplemental Information in this release on pages
13-14

(2) Average paid subscribers are calculated based on the arithmetic
daily mean over the relevant period, and may differ substantially from
paid subscribers at the end of any period due to the timing of paid
subscriber additions and losses

(3) Consumption includes videos viewed on third party (Facebook,
YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) and WWE platforms (WWE.com
and WWE App). Social media followers represent the number of followers
for each individual platform as sourced from each platform; as such,
total followers shown have not been adjusted for duplication among or
within platforms and do not represent the number of “unique” followers

(4) A reconciliation of three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 Free
Cash Flow to Net cash provided by operating activities can be found in
the Supplemental Information in this release on page 15

(5) Data based on average viewers per live episode/ game measured on a
Live+SD basis across broadcast and cable networks. Source: Nielsen Media
Research, NPOWER (for more information, see WWE Q1 2019 earnings website
presentation at corporate.wwe.com/investors)

(6) The Company’s business model and expected results (including our
outlook for the second quarter and rest of 2019) will continue to be
subject to significant execution and other risks, including risks
relating to entering into, maintaining and/ or renewing key agreements,
uncertainties associated with international markets and risks inherent
in large live events, and the other risks outlined in the Company’s Form
10-K filing with the SEC

(7) Core content rights fees consist primarily of licensing revenues
earned from the distribution of our flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown,
through global broadcast, pay television and digital platforms

(8) Other forms of media monetization reflect revenues earned from the
distribution of other content, including, but not limited to, certain
live in-ring programming content in international markets, scripted,
reality and other programming, theatrical and direct-to-home video
releases

(9) Other Live Events includes revenue from the sale of travel packages
associated with the Company’s live events, and commissions earned
through secondary ticketing as well as revenue from events for which the
Company receives a fixed fee

Non-GAAP Measures

The Company defines Adjusted OIBDA as operating income excluding
depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation expense, certain
impairment charges and other non-recurring material items that otherwise
would impact the comparability of results between periods. Adjusted
OIBDA includes amortization expenses directly related to the Company’s
revenue generating activities, including feature film and television
production asset amortization, amortization of costs related to content
delivery and technology assets utilized for the WWE Network, as
well as amortization of right-of-use assets related to finance leases of
live event production equipment. The Company believes the presentation
of Adjusted OIBDA is relevant and useful for investors because it allows
them to view the Company’s segment performance in the same manner as the
primary method used by management to evaluate segment performance and to
make decisions regarding the allocation of resources. Additionally, the
Company believes that Adjusted OIBDA is a primary measure used by media
investors, analysts and peers for comparative purposes.

Adjusted OIBDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and may be
different than similarly-titled non-GAAP financial measures used by
other companies. WWE views operating income as the most directly
comparable GAAP measure. Adjusted OIBDA (and other non-GAAP measures
such as Adjusted Operating Income, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS
presented to exclude certain material items that impact the
comparability between periods) should not be considered in isolation
from, or as a substitute for, operating income or other GAAP measures,
such as net income or operating cash flow, as an indicator of operating
performance or liquidity.

The Company defines Free Cash Flow as net cash provided by
operating activities less cash used for capital expenditures. WWE views
net cash provided by operating activities as the most directly
comparable GAAP measure. Although it is not a recognized measure of
liquidity under U.S. GAAP, Free Cash Flow provides useful information
regarding the amount of cash WWE’s continuing business generates after
capital expenditures and is available for reinvesting in the business,
debt service, and payment of dividends.

Additional Information

Additional business metrics are made available to investors on the
corporate website – corporate.wwe.com/investors.
Note: As previously announced WWE will host a conference call at 11:00
a.m. ET on April 25th to discuss the Company’s earnings
results for the first quarter of 2019. All interested parties are
welcome to listen to a live web cast that will be hosted through the
Company’s website at corporate.wwe.com/investors.
Participants can access the conference call by dialing 1-855-200-4993
(toll free) or 1-323-794-2092 from outside the U.S. (conference ID for
both lines: 3055483). Please reserve a line 5-10 minutes prior to the
start time of the conference call.

The earnings presentation referenced during the call will be made
available on April 25, 2019 at corporate.wwe.com/investors.
A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the
conference call concludes, and can be accessed on the Company’s web site.

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media
organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The Company
consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original
content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family
friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view,
digital media and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG, family-friendly
programming can be seen in more than 800 million homes worldwide in 25
languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium
network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and
a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than
180 countries. The Company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with
offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai,
Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and
corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent
names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos
and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries.
All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their
respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press
release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor
provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are
subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and
uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: entering,
maintaining and renewing major distribution agreements; WWE Network (including
the risk that we are unable to attract, retain and renew subscribers);
our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and
events; the possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of
sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the
services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the
regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly
competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the
markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or
marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties
associated with international markets including possible disruptions and
reputational risks; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct
our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with
applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property
rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our
infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of
our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical
areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or
injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including,
without limitation, claims alleging traumatic brain injury; large public
events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film
business; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or
strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations;
privacy norms and regulations; a possible decline in general economic
conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable;
our indebtedness including our convertible notes; litigation; our
potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial
performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K.

Contacts

Investors:
Michael Weitz 203-352-8642
Michael
Guido, CFA 203-352-8779

Media:
Matthew
Altman 203-352-1177

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