World Poker Tour Enterprises released their fourth quarter and end of year financial reports on February 13th. The overall look of the company at the end of 2005 is relatively good, with emphasis on the development of their multitude of properties and merchandising opportunities. CEO and founder Steve Lipscomb was quite energetic about the finish of the year and the outlook for 2006.
"The fourth quarter represented continued progress for the World Poker Tour brand," Lipscomb stated during the announcement of the financial state of WPTE. "We delivered four episodes of Season Four of our highly successful television show and further expanded the international distribution of our show. We are now licensed to broadcast in more than 130 countries. Additionally, we recently announced many exciting new developments, including the hiring of Peter Hughes as our Chief Operating Officer, an agreement with the Travel Channel for distribution of the Professional Poker Tour (PPT), and several new consumer product licensees. As we look ahead to 2006, we are confident in our ability to continue to successfully execute our strategic plan."
Revenues for WPTE in the fourth quarter of 2005 were down about one percent from the same fourth quarter period of 2004, but this is due to fewer completed episodes of Season Four of the World Poker Tour being delivered than in 2004. For the year, WPTE increased the earnings of the company over 2004 by 2.9%, driven by the addition of many international broadcast outlets and product licensing revenues and things are looking fairly good for WPTE to make a strong move in 2006.
Now that the PPT has found a home with the Travel Channel, WPTE can now mark the profit from that against the production costs that had already been counted against their accounting dockets. Their online poker room, WPTOnline, is beginning to show some promise as well. Since its start during the summer of 2005 (and its availability to only those players outside of the United States), WPTOnline has shown revenues of nearly $1 million and continues to grow as we enter 2006. In addition to these encouraging trends, product licensing revenues showed tremendous growth for the year, increasing 127% from 2004.
What is also interesting is that, if WPTE meets their forecasted first quarter goals for 2006, it could potentially mark the first quarter that the four year old company has turned a profit. Their forecast for that period is in the $6.5 to $7 million area which, in looking at past performance of the company and their quarterly costs that have averaged around $5 million, bodes well for the future of WPTE and their related entities. Since WPTE has yet to turn a profit, the first quarter of 2006 could potentially be a watermark for the company and its future. We'll be watching closely to see just what comes about for the company that has helped to bring poker to its current prominence.