WWE Network and the organization as a whole is badly in need of good news. The streaming network has been struggling to gain subscribers, the stock price has crashed thanks to poor numbers and a bad TV deal, fans revolted against the Royal Rumble, and even this week’s scheduled television tapings were canceled due to snow in the northeast.
Well, WWE finally got that good news in the form of reaching a much-needed milestone. In just less than a year after launching WWE Network surpassed 1 million subscribers – long regarded as its break-even point for sustainability and viability. This comes after WWE dropped the 6 month commitment for subscribers (installing a $9.99 monthly rate that could be canceled anytime) and rolled out the network in various overseas markets.
Here’s the announcement from WWE:
WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that WWE Network has surpassed 1 million subscribers just 11 months after launch, making it the fastest-growing digital subscription service. These results represent a 37 percent increase (24 percent domestically) in subscribers since last reported (1) at the end of third quarter 2014, driven primarily by a successful free November promotion, the launch of the service in the UK and significant additions for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event.
“We’re thrilled that we’ve surpassed the 1 million subscriber milestone less than a year after launching WWE Network and in advance of WrestleMania, our biggest event of the year on March 29,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “We remain focused on delivering an outstanding value proposition for our fans by adding new content and new features in the coming year.”
Viewer data continues to indicate that, on average, close to 90 percent of subscribers access WWE Network at least once per week, 99 percent access WWE Network at least once per month and 86 percent of subscribers are satisfied with WWE Network.
There’s been a lot of dissatisfaction made known about current WWE storylines and the state of the industry but that might be a separate discussion than the value of the network. Even if you’re not happy with what’s going on now, there’s still so much depth of content on WWE Network that it remains one of the best deals in sports and entertainment. You have not only every PPV event from three major companies, old school stuff, and plenty of original documentaries. You can even go back and watch old episodes of Nitro where La Parka wrestles the Disco Inferno. You just can’t beat that.
The question remains, though – has WWE Network finally gotten over the hump or is this only a temporary success? Is a referee going to come running out from the back to overturn this result?
Will they be able to keep adding subscribers or even maintain 7 digit figures? With #CancelWWENetwork trending after the Rumble, who knows just how many subscribers pulled the trigger on dumping the service over their unhappiness with the current product. With there not being another major event until WrestleMania (February’s Fast Lane appears to be more of a placeholder than anything else at this point), it’s going to be key for WWE to keep fans invested and satisfied until their Super Bowl. Now moreso than ever, WWE would be wise to listen to the fans as their subscription numbers and business model depends on it.