WWE EARNINGS – WWE reports record full-year 2015 revenue, returns to Net Gain, McMahon comments

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WWE reported Full-Year 2015 revenue of $658.8 million, which WWE said was the highest in company history.

Total revenue was up more than $100 million (18 percent) from 2014 annual revenue of $542.6 million.

WWE said the Network and TV segments accounted for “nearly $100 million, or 85 percent” of the overall revenue growth.

“Our record revenue in 2015 reflected innovation across all of our businesses, which was highlighted by the successful execution of our network strategy,” said WWE CEO Vince McMahon. “Over the next year, we will continue to focus on producing engaging content across all platforms, investing in emerging markets, and deploying technology across the enterprise to drive our long-term growth.”

– WWE’s annual Operating Income was $68.7 million (10 percent of total revenue), which made WWE profitable again after reporting an operating loss of $11.6 million in 2014 due to the initial Network costs.

WWE noted: “The $80.3 million increase was driven by the expansion of WWE Network and the contractual escalation of television rights fees. Network segment OIBDA increased $50.2 million with significant growth in WWE Network subscription revenue as well as lower network customer service and marketing costs.”

– The annual revenue increase was driven by “record levels” from WWE Network, TV, Live Event, Venue Merchandise, and WWE Shop business.

Included was record international revenue of $169.8 million (46 percent increase from 2014), mainly from the increased availability of WWE Network.

Caldwell’s Analysis: The numbers look good compared to 2014, which was a transition year trying to get the Network up and running. WWE will continue to see increases in TV Revenue throughout the life of their TV contracts, but the key will be avoiding a plateau in Network revenue and subscriptions. Investors want to see more growth in the Network segment, which continues to be a concern for the investment community since the Network subs look flat right now.