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WWE CFO George Barrios talks Vince McMahon, Social Media, Indian Market, Succession

WWE’s Co-President and Chief Financial Officer George Barrios spoke at the UBS Global conference on December 3rd. The full video/audio of this 40-minute speech can be seen below thanks to the Wrestlenomics Podcast.

Some of, what I see as being, the key parts of Barrios’s talk are below:

Social Media

Barrios says that Vince called an impromptu meeting in his office where he told senior staff that WWE has to own the social media game and required them all to write weekly briefs on what they were doing to make this happen.

He says that 20% of WWE’s content consumption comes from YouTube,as they are now doing around 2 billion views per month on the social media platform. They have 950 million social media followers

Consumption of Product

Barrios repeatedly referred back to the India deals and the emerging market that is India as a cornerstone of the future development of the company’s international growth.

India is the largest consumer of WWE video products. He says that around half of homes in India with broadband access have some kind of affinity with WWE be that an avid fan, or a lapsed fan.

However, one very key line that he said here was that international accounted for 70% of engagement but only 30% of revenue –meaning their primary income is, by far, emanating from North America.

One very striking statistic thrown out by Barrios is that the average number of hours a WWE Network subscriber spends watching content is 200 hours per subscriber per year.

Competition

Barrios was asked whether WWE sees UFC as competition, to which he replied yes but they see all brands as competition. Any form of media that takes viewership time away from the WWE product is a competitor: be it Fortnite, NBA or YouTube Vloggers.

The Line of Succession

Barrios was asked about who would take the helm of WWE onceVince is no longer around. Barrios simply points out that Stephanie and Triple H are in great positions of power and that the board continually discusses succession planning.

He says that the infrastructure is “broad and deep” and goes beyond one person.

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