Comparability of Results
Our results for the current-year quarter included $2.3 million in network-related operating expenses and a $0.5 million film impairment charge. Results for the prior-year quarter included $4.0 million in network-related operating expenses and $12.2 million in film impairment charges. In order to facilitate an analysis of our financial results on a more comparable basis, where noted, we have adjusted our results to exclude these items. (See Schedules of Adjustments in Supplemental Information.)
Three Months Ended December 31, 2012 – Results by Region and Business Segment
Revenues increased 2% based on our growth in North America. Revenues from North America increased 12% driven by increased rights fees from the licensing of new television programs and digital content, increased home entertainment sales and, to a lesser extent, increased ticket sales from a higher number of live events in the region than the prior-year quarter. Revenues from outside North America declined 21% or $7.2 million primarily due to an anticipated reduction in the number of live events, which impacted our Live and Televised Entertainment segment (as described in the business segment discussion below).
Live and Televised Entertainment
Revenues from our Live and Televised Entertainment businesses were $82.0 million for the current quarter as compared to $81.0 million in the prior-year quarter. Increased rights fees from the production and licensing of new television programs were affected by timing, with 8 fewer international live events and a reduction in the number of pay-per-view events (3 vs. 4 in the prior-year quarter).
* Live Event revenues declined 13% to $23.3 million from $26.9 million in the prior-year quarter primarily due to a reduction in the number of international events and lower average attendance at both our domestic and international events.
* There were 75 total events, including 52 events in North America and 23 events in international markets, in the current quarter as compared to 78 events in the prior-year quarter, including 47 events in North America and 31 in international markets.
* North American live event revenues increased 9% to $13.9 million from $12.7 million in the prior-year quarter, reflecting increases in the number of events and average realized ticket price, which more than offset a slight decline in average attendance. There were 5 additional events in the period, representing an 11% increase while the average ticket price for the quarter’s events increased 4% to $44.64 from $42.87 in the prior-year quarter. Average attendance declined 5% to approximately 5,700 from 6,000, primarily due to weaker performance.
* International live events generated revenues of $9.4 million as compared to $14.2 million in the prior-year quarter, reflecting a 26% decline in the number of events, with 8 fewer events in the period, and an 11% decrease in average attendance to approximately 5,600 from 6,300 in the prior-year quarter. The decline in average attendance was predominantly due to weaker performance, as the prior-year quarter included an especially strong eight-event tour in Mexico. Partially offsetting the decline in events and attendance, the average ticket price increased 5% to $69.81 due in part to changes in the mix of ticket sales.
* Pay-Per-View revenues were $13.0 million as compared to $14.6 million in the prior-year quarter reflecting the production of three pay-per-view events in the current quarter as compared to four in the prior-year quarter. In addition, revenue and buys were impacted by the timing of our Pay-Per-View distribution in the U.K. as our television partner in that country selected one fewer event in the current quarter for distribution via pay-per-view. On a comparable basis, for the events produced in the quarter, revenue increased approximately 4% as a 3% decline in buys was more than offset by a 7% increase in the average revenue per buy due in part to an increased proportion of buys to view our events in high definition, which generally attracts higher retail prices.
The details for the number of buys are as follows:
* Hell in a Cell: 199,000 buys (up from 182,000 in 2011)
* Survivor Series: 208,000 buys (down from 281,000 in 2011)
* TLC: 175,000 buys (down from 179,000 in 2011)
There was no Vengeance pay-per-view this year. The show drew 121,000 buys in 2011.
Television revenues increased 20% to $40.6 million from $33.9 million in the prior-year quarter primarily due to the production and licensing of new programs. An additional hour of our Raw program was licensed to the USA Network and debuted in July 2012, and a new Saturday morning kids show, WWE Saturday Morning Slam, was introduced on The CW Network in August 2012. In addition, during the quarter, WWE began distribution of a new original series, the WWE Main Event, which airs on ION Television.
Venue Merchandise revenues were $3.8 million as compared to $3.9 million in the prior-year quarter. The 3% decline was primarily due to a decrease in total international attendance that arose from 8 fewer international live events in the current-year quarter. Total paid attendance and sales per capita at our North American events increased 4% and 5%, respectively.
Revenues from our Consumer Products businesses increased 9% to $20.4 million from $18.7 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily due to strong unit sales from our home entertainment catalog that were partially offset by lower sales of our licensed products.
Home Entertainment net revenues increased 48% to $9.6 million as compared to $6.5 million in the prior-year quarter driven by the promotion and strong sales of our catalog titles and two additional, lower-priced new releases. Revenue growth stemmed from a 43% increase in shipments to nearly 1.2 million units and improved sell through rates of our prior-period releases that more than offset a 16% reduction in average price to $11.31.
Licensing revenues declined 12% to $8.4 million as compared to $9.5 million in the prior-year quarter with reduced sales across most product categories, especially video games, as well as novelty products, and apparel. Royalties earned from the sale of video games declined by $0.5 million primarily from the absence of WWE All Stars, which was released in March 2011 and was not refreshed in 2012. In addition, shipments of our annual franchise video game declined 21% to 128,000 units. Royalties from the sale of toys increased 11%, or $0.6 million, reflecting the successful launch of our Brawlin’ Buddies toy by Mattel.
THQ Termination Agreement / Take-Two License Agreement
On December 19, 2012, our video game licensee THQ Inc. (“THQ”) declared bankruptcy. As a result, the Company reserved $1.7 million as bad debt for amounts that were due the Company from THQ at December 31, 2012. The amounts reserved primarily related to sponsorship agreements and various services WWE provided to THQ in support of WWE ’13. In connection with the termination of our license agreement with THQ, the Company will recognize approximately $8.0 million of revenue during the first quarter of 2013 relating to the unrecognized portion of an advance received when the Company entered into the license agreement with THQ in 2009. Additionally, upon termination of the agreement with THQ, the Company entered into a multi-year agreement with Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Take-Two) to be the Company’s video game licensee. As a result of THQ’s bankruptcy, the Company will not collect royalties due in the first quarter. The Company has estimated the amount of this economic loss at between $4.0 million to $5.0 million, and does not believe that this loss will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
Magazine publishing net revenues were $1.7 million as compared to $2.0 million in the prior-year quarter, reflecting lower newsstand sales in the current-year quarter.
Revenues from our Digital Media related businesses were $12.1 million as compared to $8.9 million in the prior-year quarter, representing a 36% increase.
WWE.com revenues increased to $6.2 million from $2.7 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily due to increased rights fees associated with the licensing of original short-form content to YouTube and the licensing of next-day access of current WWE TV programs to Hulu Plus. The related programming agreements with YouTube and Hulu commenced February 2012 and September 2012, respectively. Sales of online advertising also increased from the prior-year quarter.
WWEShop revenues declined to $5.9 million from $6.2 million in the prior-year quarter as a 10% decline in average revenue per order to $47.10 was partially offset by a 4% increase in the number of online merchandise sales to 125,000 orders.
During the quarter, WWE Studios recognized revenue of $0.6 million as compared to $4.3 million in the prior-year quarter, reflecting the timing of releases. There were no feature films released in the current quarter as compared to one release, The Reunion, in the prior-year quarter. WWE Studios’ movie portfolio generated a loss of $0.6 million, including a $0.5 million film impairment charge, compared to a loss of $13.8 million in the prior-year quarter, which included $12.2 million in film charges. Excluding the impact of those charges in both the current and prior-year quarter, the WWE Studios’ movie portfolio generated essentially break-even results compared to an adjusted loss of $1.6 million in the prior-year quarter.
Profit Contribution (Net revenues less cost of revenues)
Profit contribution increased 89% to $45.9 million primarily due to improved results (i.e., reduced losses) from our WWE Studios’ movie projects as well as increased rights fees from the licensing of new television programs and digital content, stronger sell-through rates of our home entertainment catalog titles and a reduction in certain talent-related expenses. The profit contribution margin increased to 40% compared to 22% in the prior-year quarter. Excluding the impact of film impairments, our Adjusted Profit contribution increased 27% to $46.4 million and our adjusted profit contribution margin was 40% compared to 32% in the prior-year quarter. (See Schedules of Adjustments in Supplemental Information.)
Selling, general and administrative expenses
SG&A expenses were $37.4 million for the current-year quarter as compared to $33.3 million in the prior-year quarter. These results reflected the return to a more normalized level of management incentive compensation, which resulted in a year-over-year increase of approximately $2.3 million, increased salary expenses, and incremental bad debt expense due, in part, to the bankruptcy of our former video game licensee. The rise in staffing costs (excluding management incentive compensation) was incurred to support the expansion of our television and digital content, including a potential network.
Depreciation and amortization
Depreciation and amortization expense totaled $5.9 million for the current-year quarter as compared to $4.1 million in the prior-year quarter. The increase in depreciation and amortization expense derives from our investment in assets to support our long-term growth objectives, including the launch of a potential network.
EBITDA was $8.5 million in the current-year quarter as compared to a loss of $9.0 million in the prior-year quarter. Improved results were driven by the performance of our movie portfolio and the licensing of additional television and digital content, partially offset by the aforementioned increase in SG&A expenses. Adjusted EBITDA (excluding the impact of network-related expenses and film impairments) increased 57% to $11.3 million from $7.2 million in the prior-year quarter.
Investment and Other (Expense) Income
Investment income, interest and other expense, net was a loss of $0.2 million in the current-year quarter compared to a loss of $0.2 million in the prior-year quarter.
Effective tax rate
The current year quarter’s effective tax rate was 75%. The current quarter was adversely impacted by $0.4 million of additional tax expense as a result of differences between estimated and actual full year taxable income. Additionally, the fourth quarter rate reflected a $0.2 million increase in unrecognized tax benefits and $0.2 million to provide for dividends from a foreign subsidiary. In total, these items were responsible for 33 percentage points of the quarter’s 75% effective rate.
Summary Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2012
Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2012 were $484.0 million as compared to $483.9 million in the prior year. Operating income for the current year was $43.2 million versus $37.0 million in the prior year. Net income was $31.4 million, or $0.42 per share, as compared to $24.8 million, or $0.33 per share, in the prior year. EBITDA was $63.2 million for the current year as compared to $52.0 million in the prior year. Excluding items that impacted comparability on a year-over-year basis, Adjusted Operating income was $52.6 million compared to $64.4 million in the prior year, and Adjusted Net income was $38.6 million, or $0.51 per share, compared to $43.3 million, or $0.58 per share, in the prior year. On an “As Reported” basis, the results of WWE’s portfolio of movies, including a $22.2 million reduction in film impairment charges, was a significant component of the rise in EBITDA for the year. Excluding the impact of these impairment charges and network-related expenses, “Adjusted” EBITDA declined 9% as growth from the licensing of new television programs and digital content, as well as improved results from our Pay-Per-View operations, were more than offset by lower video game sales, ongoing investment to support the company’s long-term objectives, and $10.8 million in incremental expenses from the return to a more normalized level of management incentive compensation in the current year.
Year Ended December 31, 2012 – Results by Region and Business Segment
Revenues were essentially flat to the prior year as growth from North America was offset by a corresponding international decline. Revenue from North America increased 4%, or $15.4 million, as the licensing of new television programs and digital content, improved home entertainment sales, and a rise in the number of domestic live events were partially offset by lower revenues from our movie releases. Revenues from outside North America declined 11%, or $15.3 million, primarily due to an anticipated reduction in the number of live events and lower sales of licensed consumer products, particularly in the Latin American and EMEA regions.
Once again, for more detailed information regarding WWE’s Fourth Quarter 2012 and Full Year financial results, click here to view the official press release (.PDF).
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