Live & Televised Entertainment
Live events and television programming are our principal creative content and production activities. Our creative team develops compelling and complex characters and weaves them into dynamic storylines that combine physical and emotional elements. Storylines are usually played out in the wrestling ring and unfold on our weekly television shows, and culminate or change direction in our monthly pay-per-view events.
Our success is due primarily to the continuing popularity of our Superstars. We currently have 160 Superstars under exclusive contracts, ranging from multi-year guaranteed contracts with established Superstars to developmental contracts. Our Superstars are highly trained and motivated independent contractors whose compensation is tied to the revenue that they help generate. Popular Superstars include Triple H, John Cena, Batista, Shawn Michaels, Edge, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Kane, Mr. Kennedy, Maria and Mickie James. We own the rights to substantially all of our characters, and we exclusively license the rights we do not own through agreements with our Superstars. We continually seek to identify, recruit and develop additional talent for our business.
Relying on our in-house production capabilities at our technologically advanced production facility, we produce five hours of original weekly prime time programming, 52 weeks per year, distributed domestically, internationally and via WWE.com. Our domestic cable and broadcast programs are “Monday Night RAW” and “A.M. RAW” on USA Network, Telemundo and mun2, “Friday Night SmackDown” on MyNetworkTV and “ECW” on the Sci Fi Channel. WWE programs reach more than 14.8 million total viewers during the average week.
“Monday Night RAW” is a two-hour primetime program that is broadcast live on USA Network. It is one of the most watched regularly scheduled programs on ad-supported cable television among men and young adults and anchors USA as a top-rated network. As part of the agreement with USA Network’s parent company, NBC Universal, RAW also airs in replays on Telemundo and mun2.
The two-hour “Friday Night SmackDown” airs on MyNetworkTV in primetime on Fridays. SmackDown continues to be the top rated broadcast program on Friday nights among M12-17, M12-34, M18-24, M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54 and is the most watched program on MyNetworkTV among all key demographics. SmackDown has also consistently been one of the top 10 English language primetime programs among Hispanic households.
“ECW” is the top rated program on the Sci Fi Channel among households, total viewers and all key male demographics.WWE’s television programming can be seen in more than 145 countries around the world. Each year, more than 7,500 hours of WWE programming is broadcast in 28 languages throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America. Our broadcast partners include BSkyB in the UK, Sky Italia and Jetix in Italy, Sogecable in Spain, DSF and Premiere in Germany, SIC, TVI and Sport TV in Portugal, Groupe AB and Canal + in France, MTV3 Max and The Finnish Sports Channel in Finland, Extreme Sports Channel in Poland, e.tv in South Africa, Ten Sports in India, J SPORTS in Japan, CJ Media in South Korea, TV3 and ASTRO in Malaysia, Foxtel, Channel Nine and Main Event in Australia, Sky in New Zealand, Solar Entertainment Corp in Philippines, Showtime, Orbit and EVision in the Middle East, Televisa, TV Azteca, PCTV and MVS in Mexico, Canal 9 in Argentina, and FX Channel in Latin America.
WWE is the pre-eminent provider of pay-per-view events and has been for the past 20 years. In 2008, WWE will televise 14 pay-per-view live events and an additional 12 “WWE Presents” pay-per-view specials. Our pay-per-view productions consistently rank among the highest selling pay-per-view live event programs in the industry. WWE’s pre-eminent pay-per-view, WrestleMania, has achieved more than one million buys worldwide annually for the past several years. On March 30, 2008, WrestleMania 24 became WWE’s highest grossing live event in WWE history.
Our international pay-per-view partners include SKY Box Office in the UK, SKYItaliain Italy, Premiere in Germany, Sogecable (Taquilla) in Spain, SKY Perfect TV! and J:COM in Japan, Main Event in Australia, SKY Box Office in New Zealand, Canal + in France, StarHub in Singapore, Sky Pacific in Fiji, Astro Box Office Sport in Malaysia/Brunei, Solar Sports in the Philippines and Showtime, E-Vision, and Orbit in the Middle East.
Our three brands, RAW, SmackDown and ECW, allow us to play numerous domestic markets and take advantage of the strong international demand for our events. For the first nine months of 2008, the average paid attendance to our North America events increased in comparison to 2007. In the third quarter of 2008, we held 89 live events, entertaining nearly half a million fans at an average ticket price of $42.66
Our direct merchandise operations consist of the design, sourcing, marketing and distribution of numerous WWE-branded products, such as T-shirts, caps and many other novelty items, all of which feature our Superstars and logos. Through September 2008, fans attending our domestic live events spent an average of $10.64 on our merchandise.
WWE 24/7 On-Demand
WWE 24/7 Classics is a Subscription Video On-Demand (SVOD) service that offers highly-rated and best-selling classic television shows, pay-per-view events, specials and original programming. Most of this material is drawn from WWE's extensive video library, the largest of its kind in the world, and includes other leading wrestling brands, such as WCW, ECW and AWA. WWE 24/7 subscribers have access to approximately 40 hours of content each month.
“The Legends of Wrestling,” WWE 24/7’s first original series, will be premiering a new episode in November. It is a roundtable talk show featuring insights and commentary from some of the most legendary and noteworthy personalities spanning decades of sports entertainment.
WWE 24/7 Classics On Demand is currently distributed with 14 of the top 15 MSOs in the United States, making WWE 24/7 Classics On Demand available to more than 80 percent of VOD enabled subscribers. Major North American distributors currently include: Comcast Communications, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Mediacom, Insight, Rogers Communications, Suddenlink, Verizon Communications, Bresnan Communications and RCN. WWE 24/7 Classics On Demand is internationally distributed.