At day’s end, the WWE is more than just a professional wrestling and sports entertainment company. World Wrestling Entertainment is a business above all else. Vince McMahon, the company’s CEO, has a strong hand in what goes on backstage, as well as in the boardroom. What makes the WWE different than most entities is its ability to market to a mass audience, rather than a specific demographic. They are a worldwide company, which carries more weight than a lot of entertainment companies.
What the WWE focuses on the most are three things; television ratings, merchandise sales, and WWE Network subscriptions. With any successful business, more variables do exist to remain successful, but the aforementioned key parts do help the WWE perform at its best every week of the year. Since they are a public company, a quarterly report comes out reporting the WWE’s financial situation and how they are operating as a business.
WWE’s last quarter, which was Q3 in the financial industry, posted good numbers and stellar WWE Network subscriber totals as well. In the report, the WWE raised their subscriber numbers by 24 percent from the third quarter in 2015. The company grew their international audience with a partnership in Germany, only furthering their brand.
Among other projections from Q3, the WWE was aiming towards a record number of WWE Network subscriptions. In a new WWE report, the WWE published their fourth quarter earnings and once again, experienced record numbers of WWE Network subscriptions and revenue.
- Revenue increased 17% to $194.9 million as compared to the prior year quarter.
- WWE Network subscribers increased 14 percent from the fourth quarter 2015 to 1.41 million average paid subscribers over the fourth quarter 2016, consistent with the Company’s guidance.
And below are 2016 highlights included in the report.
- Revenue increased 11% to $729.2 million, the highest in the Company’s history, including record levels of revenue from its Network, Television, Live Event, Venue Merchandise, and WWE Shop segments.
- Total international revenue increased by 11% to a record $189.3 million.
- WWE Network subscribers watched a total of 294 million hours of content (up 15% from 256 million in 2015), yielding an average of 194 hours per household that places it among top cable and broadcast networks.
Vince McMahon commented on the successful financial period in the report.
“During the past year, we continued to successfully execute our content strategy, which resulted in significant operational achievements and generated record revenue. We grew WWE Network to an average of more than 1.5 million subscribers, attracted record attendance of 101,763 fans at WrestleMania, and strengthened the global reach of our television programs, completing distribution deals in China, Australia, Germany and Spain, among other countries,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.
As the WWE begins to evolve as a business, their strategy is going to evolve as well. In the mid-2000’s, they were focused on big men who were main attractions of the WWE Universe. While that theory worked as long as it could’ve, the wrestling industry changed. It was no longer about the big men like Andre the Giant or Hulk Hogan. The smaller wrestler was beginning to generate popularity, such as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
The initial change has already begun. First, Triple H has taken more responsibilities behind the scenes and might step away from the squared circle permanently, according to an earlier report by the Inquisitr. He’s already shown what his wrestling business IQ is like after creating what is now known as WWE NXT. Their ideology is much different than that of the WWE roster, while simultaneously generating revenue and interest in a different product.
After their dominant fourth quarter, it’s a brand new year for the WWE. Vince McMahon will once again look to improve numbers, as any good businessman would. With new wrestling coming into the fold and original WWE Network programming increasing, the WWE is looking to have a very strong first quarter in 2017.
[Featured Image by WWE]