Linda McMahon discusses WWE, ECW, And The Rock

WWE held a conference call today to discuss the company’s financial figures for the first quarter of the year, which were released this morning.

It was pointed out that there were four PPV events in this quarter, as opposed to only two PPV events in this quarter for last year, due to the way the events fell on the calendar.

In a prepared statement, WWE Chief Executive Officer Linda McMahon discussed the value of the tape library WWE possesses, mentioning the success of the Chris Benoit DVD set, and stated that WWE expects the Eddie Guerrero and “Rise And Fall Of ECW” DVD to do well for the company. She later put over the success of Ric Flair’s DVD release and book. Linda’s statement also mentioned WWE 24/7, and that the company expects a big demand for “classic” merchandise and releases.

Linda said that WWE Films will have a combined budget of $20 million dollars for their first two feature projects.

The “Taboo Tuesday” PPV in October will be an “interactive” event, with fans being able to vote on events that will take place during the show, via WWE.com.

Following a review of the figures, there was a brief Question & Answer session with WWE Chief Executive Officer Linda McMahon, WWE Chief Financial Officer Phil Livingston, and WWE Vice President of Investor Relations Michelle Goldstein.

Here are highlights from the Q&A:

– Linda talked about how their acquisition of tape libraries allows them to put out DVD releases on wrestlers like Chris Benoit and include footage from throughout their career, something no other group was ever able to do before (since they were all separate companies). She also talked about the success of “classic” action figures and toys, and how they are looking to create more DVDs that take advantage of the tape library.

– There is nothing specific planned for The Rock, although he will continue to make “occasional appearances” on the shows. He is not returning to the active roster at this time.

– There are plans to do more overseas TV productions (like the upcoming UK tour which will culminate in Raw and Smackdown tapings) in the future.

– Linda said the release for “The Rise And Fall Of ECW” DVD is now set for November.

– McMahon said that the live events and house shows are “dragging a bit” domestically, but that they are still profitable for the company.

– The video-on-demand that WWE has introduced online is just a “soft launch” test for future ideas. There are also plans for an online “fantasy” game for WWE.

– WWE is still in negotiations with Spike TV for when their contract expires.

Credit: Buck Woodward, PWInsider.com