Well, WrestleMania XXX is in the books, and on the heels of the event, WWE announced that they currently have 667,287 subscribers for WWE Network. The break even point for the network was initially reported as one million subscribers, so the fact that WWE is two-thirds of the way there in just six weeks has to be considered good news for them. While that is good news, WWE stock did drop by 19% early on Monday, indicating that maybe not everyone is sold on the progress of the network.
However, with WrestleMania now in the rear-view mirror, it’ll be very interesting to see how many users re-up their subscription after the expiration of their six-month term. The six month term for people who signed up in the first six weeks will be over after August’s SummerSlam, and with November’s Survivor Series losing some luster in recent years, it remains to be seen whether or not people will immediately renew their subscription or waiting for January’s Royal Rumble to pick their subscription back up. However, WWE is betting on those fans being impressed by the vast network library that they will stay aboard, and there’s no guarantee that the $9.99 per month and six month commitment will remain in place in the future. WWE will be helped by the network rolling out in countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, and others over the next year.
All in all though, the network has been a success so far. There are still problems with the live and archived video feeds on various devices, but last night’s WrestleMania stream went off without major glitches. That’s another possible selling point for people – if the network can handle half a million or more people streaming live content at the same time, it should be able to handle me watching archived footage, right? MLB Advanced Media and WWE have done well on the technical side of things with WWE Network after the launch was spotty.
The streaming quality and lack of buffering for WrestleMania is a huge step for all digital services and shows that major events can be televised through streaming devices without buffering issues we’ve seen in the past. If you haven’t been convinced that Apple or Google could make a successful play at sports rights, the success of WWE Network should make you change your mind.
The lack of issues involving WWE Network on Sunday night actually put it ahead of HBO GO, which crashed leading into Sunday’s season four premiere of Game of Thrones. Maybe HBO should give MLBAM a call to solve their streaming issues.