WWE BUSINESS: WWE CFO says company is a 'data powerhouse' (CNBC.com)

Posted on 1/21/118 by Mike Informer

WWE CFO says company is a 'data powerhouse'

7:09 PM ET Fri, 19 Jan 2018 | 00:56

With nearly $800 million in revenues, a $2.6 billion market
cap and 850 million social media followers, World Wrestling
Entertainment isn't the tiny ticketing business it was 35
years ago.

A massive overhaul of the wrestling network in 2013 and 2014
drove the "wave of growth" that made it a central player in
digital media despite its seemingly niche content, CFO
George Barrios told CNBC.

"Content, continued global growth and the direct-to-consumer
digital has turned us into a data powerhouse," Barrios told
"Mad Money" host Jim Cramer in a Friday interview. "We've
seen about 70 percent growth since 2008, and we think
there's a lot more runway."

Barrios largely credited WWE CEO Vince McMahon for
transforming the company from a small tours-and-tickets
business to a global media giant.

Now, the company boasts more social media followers than any
sports brand in the world and is the No. 1 sports channel
and No. 2 channel overall on YouTube, Barrios said.

The CFO added a "crazy stat:" in 2010, WWE's online videos
were viewed 500 million times. In 2017, WWE's online video
views grew to 20 billion.

"We call it tiering the content," Barrios said of the
company's content distribution strategy. "A lot of people
take the content and put it all over all the different
platforms and it cannibalizes."

WWE takes a different approach. Some of its content is
produced specifically for paid television (about five hours
a week). The company also produces about 600 hours of
content for YouTube, Facebook and the WWE website that is
different from what paid TV viewers are getting.

"Then we're going to do about [300], 400 hours on our
direct-to-consumer network to super-serve our most
passionate fans," Barrios said. "So all those different
platforms, different content ... it raises all boats."

One of the most curious elements of the global rise of WWE
the No. 1 country that consumes WWE video in the world is
India is its seemingly niche content offering.

Invoking writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell's biography,
The Hero's Journey, Barrios explained WWE's two chief
appeals: storytelling and simplicity.

"[Campbell] said every culture throughout human history
tells stories the same way: heroes, enemies, overcome. So
John Cena, Katniss Everdeen, Luke Skywalker; it's the hero's
journey," the CFO said. "The second thing is our sport
centers around the ring. It's the simplest thing. Everyone
understands it. That's why India's our No. 1 market in terms
of consumption."

More Indie Articles