Some interesting notes coming out of the WWE annual shareholders meeting on Friday in Connecticut.
Vince McMahon, who hosted the meeting, said the company was looking at adding a Wednesday night television show, so eventually they will have a nationally broadcast show each week night. McMahon doesn't think it will be overexposure as fans who miss a show could follow storylines easier.
On the decline in PPV buys, he partially blamed it on fans choosing to watch collectively rather than as an individually. The WWE chief appeared to suggest the concept of hanging out with friends to save money is unfair.
McMahon also said they are considering (pretty much confirmed now) cancelling the tour of Mexico later this month due to the swine flu outbreak.
He also talked about China (not Joanie Laurer) being a big part of WWE's future and admitted the company were looking at touring over there. He announced a deal with Pepsi as a new sponsor, fitting in with their new PG environment.
McMahon said there will be no more Playboy pictures or bra and panty matches. He didn't rule out another reality show but felt it would be more in terms of a Diva Search than a Tough Enough.
McMahon confirmed what has been said for years in that the Hall of Fame "is located in my head" and he doesn't feel the WWE would ever open a physical building as a tribute. When asked, he said they aren't interested in MMA.
Somebody asked about an affinity program which McMahon thought was a great idea and said they would look into it. That would basically be a reward scheme for the most loyal customers, such as a discount for frequent PPV purchasers.
He was defensive of WWE films, saying overall they estimate a $6million profit from four theatrical releases (The Marine, See No Evil, The Condemnend and 12 Rounds). He said television ratings are holding up although he did note he was unhappy with ECW and called the old ECW a "wild west shoot-em-up bang bang promotion."
WWE's Donna Goldsmith said they have major marketing plans for Summerslam, including a huge party leading into the event. She also talked about upcoming marketing meetings with USA and CNN.
McMahon predicted that Summerslam will sell out. They also talked positively about the new partnership with Mattel, the largest toy maker in America, when their deal with Jakks Pacific expires in January 2010.
Kevin Dunn, the WWE's executive of TV production, was hospitalised yesterday morning and missed the shareholders meeting. Right now we have no information on him. Dunn is McMahon's right-hand man and the highest-paid office employee in the entire company.
The lawsuit against WWE by White Wolf Inc (now known as CCP) over the use of the name Gangrel was finally dismissed on April 22.
The case goes back several years. White Wolf, who produced a role-playing game based around vampires, filed a suit claiming they owned the rights to the Gangrel name and WWE had used it without permission in 2003 for the character David Heath portrayed—and still portrays to this day.
The judge threw out the case after CCP failed to pursue, noting CCP were not utilising the trademark and had not proved the character was in any of their games.
When asked if he was going to be part of the upcoming Rise and Fall of WCW DVD, Eric Bischoff said: "They called and asked me to be a part of it and I declined. I have no desire to give credibility to their revisionist history."
Superstars on Thursday did a 0.9 rating.
Jim Ross weighs in on the Jeff Hardy contract situation and laughs off the Santina skit at Backlash in his latest blog at http://tinyurl.com/dbn8am.
The WWE stock closed the week at $10.81 on the NYSE. WWE also announced a quarterly dividend of $0.36 per share, with the McMahon family waving their dividend.