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WWE Revenues Up; PPV, Events, TV Down

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. is effectively using cost-cutting to improve its per-share performance, but its live event, broadcast and cable TV, and pay-per-view businesses remain down.

For the third quarter, the company reported an improvement of five cents per share over this time last year. WWE is reporting income from continuing operations of $8.9 million, up from $6.0 million last year at this time.

Overall revenues are down to $79.1 million from $92.6 million last year, and the company attributes the shortfall to having two PPV events in the third quarter, as opposed to last year’s three events.

Revenues from the company’s last PPV, Royal Rumble, are expected to total $8.8 million, and will be recorded next quarter.

Revenues from the company’s live and televised businesses, including Spike’s Raw and UPN’s Smackdown, were down to $55.6 million from $71.0 million in the same quarter last year, largely because of the one less PPV event.

The two events–Survivor Series and Armageddon–brought WWE $13.2 million in PPV revenues during this third quarter, compared to $21.2 million last quarter.

In addition, live-event revenues were down to $11.7 million compared to $16.0 million last year, with WWE holding 74 total domestic and international events compared to last year’s 79 events. Both attendance and ticket prices also have declined versus the same quarter last year.

WWE’s TV advertising revenues also dropped, in part because UPN now pays WWE a license fee for Smackdown and sells the advertising itself instead of leasing the time to WWE and letting WWE sell the ads.

As a result, ad revenues are down to $11.7 million compared to $17.5 million last year, while revenues from TV rights were up to $19.0 million from $16.2 million in the prior year.

The company increased its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) to $15.1 million in the current quarter, compared to last year’s $11.4 million. WWE attributed the uptick to a reduction in costs as well as increased profitability of its merchandise and the change in WWE’s arrangement with UPN for Smackdown.

WWE is looking forward to sold-out live and PPV event Wrestlemania XX, to be held March 14 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.