Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

WWE Expects New Cable-TV Deal by Early May, CFO Says

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. may find a new cable-TV home for its popular “Raw” and “Smackdown” programs by the end of next month, Chief Financial Officer George Barrios said.

“We think we’ll be able to announce a new domestic rights partner at the end of April or beginning of May,” Barrios, who is also WWE’s chief strategy officer, said yesterday in a telephone interview. He said the company is in talks with “multiple parties,” while declining to name any.

Shares of Stamford, Connecticut-based WWE have gained almost 30 percent this week on prospects for a new online video network and a richer deal for the popular cable shows, according to Barrios. The company, controlled by founder and Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon through Class B shares with added voting rights, isn’t in merger talks, he said.

WWE has held talks on future domestic TV distribution of its shows with AMC Networks Inc., Viacom Inc., Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Networks and 21st Century Fox Inc., said people with knowledge of the situation. A renewal with NBCUniversal is also possible, they said.

WWE fell less than 1 percent to $29.64 at the close in New York after setting a record yesterday. The shares have more than tripled in the past 12 months.

The WWE App has been downloaded almost 11 million times in 220 countries, a company spokesman said today. Fans can use the app to watch the WWE Network, a digital channel in the U.S. that costs $9.99 a month.

“Those are significant economics,” Barrios said. “Investors are looking at those and figuring out how they will contribute.”

Non-Exclusive

An exclusive negotiating period with Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal for cable rights ended last month. WWE’s shows run on NBCUniversal’s USA and SyFy networks.

“Raw” and “Smackdown” routinely rate among the most-watched shows on cable television each week, with “Raw” usually in the top 10 behind programs such as “The Walking Dead,” “Duck Dynasty” and “Pawn Stars,” according to Nielsen data.

“When you boil down the numbers we have larger live, same-day viewers than anything on cable,” Barrios said. “We have a passionate fanbase that follows us wherever we are.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net Rob Golum

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.