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WWE posts record high for revenue

US wrestling organisation WWE has announced its financial results for 2018, with annual revenue increasing by 16 per cent to a record $930.2m (€820.4m).

Operating income also increased by 51 per cent to a record $114.5m, while adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) increased by 31 per cent to $178.9m, exceeding company guidance and representing all-time record performance for the second year in a row.

Elsewhere, international revenue rose by 58 per cent to $317.8m from $201.3m in 2017. It marks the first time that the WWE’s international revenue has exceeded $300m.

WWE said the increased revenues were primarily driven by growth in the media sector, with the organisation having completed agreements with USA Network (NBCU) and Fox Sports, effective from October 1, 2019. These deals increase the average annual value of WWE’s US distribution to 3.6 times that of the prior deal.

Digital engagement also continued to grow in 2018, with video views up 57 per cent to 31.4 billion and hours consumed up to 1.2 billion across digital and social media platforms.

“In 2018, WWE generated the highest level of revenue and earnings in the company’s history by leveraging our brand strength to increase the monetisation of our content worldwide,” Vince McMahon, chairman and chief executive of WWE, said. “Our long-term growth strategy will continue to focus on content creation, digitisation and international development.”

George Barrios, WWE co-president, added “We increased revenue by nearly $130m, and achieved a record level of adjusted OIBDA and network subscribers. We expect to balance 2019 revenue growth with investment in strategic areas that extend the moat around our business, enabling us to continue our business transformation and maximise shareholder value.”