The WWE released their 2014 Q2 earnings reports today, and in that report they announced that the WWE Network is up to 700,000 subscribers. This is up from the 667,00 announced the day after WrestleMania. It is also far below the 850,000 figure that most analysts felt that the company should be at, especially with WWE stating that they want to hit the 1 million subscriber mark in the US by the end of 2014. Some notes from the financials on the Network…
* Customer Engagement: Viewer data indicates that, on average, 91% of subscribers access the network at least once per week and use 2.5 devices to consume network content. Moreover, consumer research indicates that 90% of subscribers are satisfied with WWE Network (with 51% extremely satisfied and 39% somewhat satisfied).
* International Availability: The Company plans to make the U.S. version of WWE Network available on an over-the-top basis starting August 12th in over 170 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain and the Nordics, among others. The network is expected to be live in the U.K. by October 2014. Plans for the network in Italy, UAE, Germany, Japan, India, China, Thailand and Malaysia will be communicated at a later date.
* Canada: The Company has entered into a new 10-year partnership with Rogers Communications, a leading media enterprise in Canada, under a landmark television programming and WWE Network agreement. The partnership facilitates the launch of WWE Network as a traditional a-la-carte Pay-TV channel in Rogers’ cable systems with a preview beginning August 12 and thereafter through other Pay-TV providers outside Rogers’ footprint. The partnership also renews Rogers’ license of the Raw and SmackDown television programs, and grants Rogers distribution rights to the Company’s pay-per-views.
* Consumer Marketing: To enhance awareness, additional marketing investment is planned around the popular SummerSlam pay-per-view event in August. The Company will also introduce new payment plans in August, including a $19.99 monthly plan (with no commitment) and an upfront one-time payment option for its existing $9.99 per month offering (with six month commitment).
* Other Developments: Content coming to WWE Network includes The Monday Night War and WWE Rivalries, the most recent addition to the network’s program schedule, both of which provide a documentary-style look at some of the greatest moments in WWE history. Expanding current distribution, WWE Network is launching on several smart TVs and Blu-ray players in mid-August. The Company also plans to deliver a new “resume play” feature later this year.
– George Barrios, Chief Strategy & Financial Officer had the following to say about the future of the Network…
“As we expanded WWE Network to 700,000 subscribers, our earnings performance surpassed our guidance, which targeted a Net loss ranging from $15 million to $18 million. Our key metrics continued to show strength as average North American attendance increased 11%, representing the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth. Raw and SmackDown TV ratings increased 5% and 3%, respectively, marking SmackDown’s 7th quarter of growth among the past 8 quarters. We identified efficiencies across WWE, which include a 7% reduction in staff, and improved our 2015 OIBDA outlook by $30 million. We developed plans to make WWE Network available in over 170 countries, and entered a 10-year deal that provides for the WWE Network launch as a traditional a-la-carte Pay-TV channel in Canada and renews our television licensing agreement for Raw and SmackDown. The progress in our strategic initiatives reinforces our view that successful execution of our WWE Network strategy can generate meaningful economic returns.”