WWE’s quarterly numbers were released this week and if you didn’t realize that it’s ok. Hulk Hogan’s privacy being violated and his apparent racism are all the talk so it is understandable. After reading the transcript of the meeting, because who in their right mind listens to this drivel, I am left wondering if things don’t look so good for the WWE Network.
Sure WWE boasts having 1,227,000 subscribers and that number is actually down from the previous quarter after WrestleMania 31. So numbers are down already and what followed had to be a sign of concern internally. There is no way WWE would announce any sort of concern publicly.
The network subscriptions actually fell off by a sum of 500,000. Sounds pretty bad huh? Well the embarrassment of losing half your subscriber base was lessened by the addition of 337,000 “new” subscribers.
The thing to remember here is the free month aspect WWE has now made policy for “new” subscribers. You sign up in August you get Summerslam free. Then all you have to do is cancel. You just saved yourself $55.00. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with a different email address to use for the next event. The average American has between three and six credit cards. In a two person household you have the ability to get twelve free WWE events. If you break this down for only The Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Summerslam and Money in the Bank (Yes Survivor Series is useless now) you can get three years of WWE events or PPVs for free. Then you have WWE giving away the first three months of the year, which has not been confirmed for this coming year, where a subscriber was given The Royal Rumble, useless February PPV and WrestleMania.
This changes the plan immensely and makes it possible to stretch out the free network subscription for years. The “new” subscriptions in no way mean that any money was brought in. Again this could simply be someone circumventing the system or simply signing up for the free month and cancelling. It is going to be entirely impossible to track the actual paying subscriber with the current business model. Having a subscriber base is entirely different than having a paying customer base.
What is never in doubt though is the utter stupidity of people will never fail. Even with a network that can be had for free for years along with a relatively cheap asking price of $9.99 people still buy pay-per-views.
So let’s break this down. WWE still had 167,000 PPV buys in the second quarter of 2015. Extreme Rules did 56,000 purchases. Then Payback came in at 54,000. Rounding out the quarter was Money in the Bank and its 57,000. Last year these PPV’s did 108,000, 67,000 and 122,000 respectively. So at least the numbers dwindled but this is still far too much money being thrown out for no good reason.
Who are these people? What kind of life do they lead where saving a large sum of money or getting more out of the money you are throwing away is a totally foreign concept? They only consolation for these types of numbers would be for bars that still carry WWE PPVs. Even then, any bar that makes money would have a data network so they could use the WWE Network as well and avoid the exaggerated costs that accompany carrying events like WWE and UFC.
The question needs to be asked; is WWE losing steam? Recent ratings have trended downwards and the subscription format for their network doesn’t seem to have accountability. The next quarter subscription numbers won’t tell us much more. It will include Summerslam subscription bumps making it difficult to gauge actual interest. Unless this was the plan all along? -Jeremy