The WWE Network has been a very interesting collection of material for both the old school and new school fan to enjoy. Whether for the purposes of reliving early Raw, SmackDown, and Nitro episodes, or indulging in the NXT weekly show, the network now promises that it holds over 7,000 hours of content, which would take someone 20 years to finish it all if he or she dedicates one hour a day for viewing.
While the amount of content is indeed impressive, WWE continues to desperately elicit subscribers to their product, hoping to receive a profit from such a business-altering investment. So far, they have a problem maintaining many people who initially want to give it a try.
According to Vice Sports, WWE has lost nearly 70 percent of their network subscribers, putting them in a position of continuing to try and grab new people, and was certainly not on a satisfactory pace towards their goal of 1 million by the time WrestleMania 30 rolled around.
“WWE Network had its much-anticipated launch in the United States that February. By the time WrestleMania 30 rolled around in April, however, the company reported that the online network had only 667,287 subscribers—far short of the 1 million executives had said they would need to hit in order to break even monetarily.
“…according to documents submitted to the SEC, WWE Network has amassed 4,587,000 total accounts since launching in 2014, while 3,076,000 accounts have left the service (leaving us with the current number of active accounts: 1,511,000). That means that 67 percent of accounts that were created were eventually canceled.
“This is a clearer indication of consumer satisfaction (especially in regards to the quality of the content) than merely boasting about the increase in revenue and the current number of subscribers. Despite the remarkable rate at which subscribers leave the service, WWE claims its network has a 90 percent satisfaction rate.”
Former WWE writer Vince Russo was indeed shocked at more information he received about the network. Per a recent conversation with former WWE and current TNA VP of Television Production John Gaburick, based on information received from him by current WWE executive producer Kevin Dunn during their recent discussion about WWE purchasing TNA, the worldwide goal for total network subscribers is only 3 to 4 million.
In addition, Russo revealed the purpose behind the WWE Network altogether.
“The WWE Network is because they have lost advertising on Raw. Because they don’t have the same numbers, that’s why, that was a big reason for the WWE Network. As long as they’re getting those subscriptions, they don’t have to rely on advertisers like they once did in the past.”
As a result of this aim, the single most important goal for the business to gain the revenue they lost from advertisers and pay-per-view buys is to load up subscribers for the network. This is why not only do they heavily promote it every show, but they have also been maintaining the promotion of a new subscriber having a free month while joining the network.
Here’s the logic right now for WWE. Pay-per-view events rose up to around $50, not including WrestleMania, which is more. In order to balance out this loss in revenue, five times the amount of people would have to subscribe to the WWE Network in order to equal one month of a pay-per-view.
Based on the ballpark of 1.5 million subscribers they have currently, it does not look like this theory is working very well.
At the end of the day, the product needs an intense shot in the arm. Even avid watchers of weekly television shows are tired of the same old matches and stories, which makes it very hard to be emotionally engaged and invested in the product.
The larger-than-life concept of building stars is what brought WWE to the dance, and names such as Bill Goldberg, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar show that this concept is still alive and well. Unfortunately, WWE has strayed far away from it, which explains the substantial decline of viewership over the years.
[Featured Image by Jessica Hill/AP Images]