WWE announces 731K total WWEN subs for 3rd Quarter

October 30, 2014

The WWE announced its 3rd Quarter ratings on Thursday as it reported a net loss of $5.9 million ($0.08 a share) compared to net income of $2.4 million ($0.03 a share) from the third quarter in 2013.  The big news is that the WWE Network has not picked up subscribers as projected and now a new strategy has been implemented.

First, the WWE Network subscription number which one may conclude has been disappointing so far.  This past quarter, it had just picked up a total of 31,000 subscribers total (including international subscribers). Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal (via twitter) indicated that it had a gross subscriber add of 286,000 to end up with the 31,000 number. As Fisher points out, lots of “churn” from people subscribing then dropping the network.  In its first quarter of offering the Network in Canada, it added just 28,000 subscribers.

Average Paid Subscribers (numbers from WWE Investor Relations)

2014

Q1 – N/A

Q2 – 665,000

Q3 – 723,000

YTD

Q1 – N/A

Q2 – 406,000

Q3 – 515,000

Perhaps as a direct result of this poor number, the WWE announced in an email to its subscribers that it will no longer require a 6 month commitment for those paying $9.99 per month as of the December billing period.

In addition, it now will be offering the Network for free to new subscribers for the entire month of November. You will see the new catchphrase/hashtag #FreeFreeFree everywhere.

In other segments of the business, from data from the WWE, the WWE is off of its 2013 earnings in domestic attendance, home entertainment ($718,000 vs. $429,000) and of course, PPV buys ($761,000 vs. $285,000 – which is due to Network).  Online merchandise was up and the International attendance average for this quarter has gone up in comparison to last year.

On the brighter side, the WWE stated in a press release that revenue from its “seven new key television agreements is expected to increase from approximately $130 million in 2014 to approximately $235 million in 2018, providing over $100 million of revenue growth subject to counterparty risks.”

Overall, the WWEN is up 68% from the prior year but the financial investment of $5.1 million due to lost PPV revenue and additional costs have impacted the initial gain.  The WWE hopes that availability in the UK will continue to grow the network but so far it does not seem to show growth with it overseas.

Payout Perspective:

At the time of this writing, WWE stock is down 6% to $12.48 in early morning trading.   This is before its earnings call scheduled for 8amPT/11amET.

The new strategies offered by WWE with its Network (no commitment/free to new subs in November) infer strong concern as it is way off its projections at this point.  Earlier this month, it announced that it would be adding “limited advertising” to the network which may reflect a pressing need to find some financial gains in lieu of subscribers.

It’s interesting to see the divergent paths UFC Fight Pass and the WWE Network have taken since both started.  While many thought that the WWE had the better platform at the beginning, it appears (from all reports) that the UFC Fight Pass is flourishing while the WWE news is discouraging.  Obviously, WWE is the only one that has to publicly report its numbers so we really don’t know the whole story for the UFC.  Still, this has been a rough year for the WWE.

9 Responses to “WWE announces 731K total WWEN subs for 3rd Quarter”

  1. BrainSmasher on October 30th, 2014 9:12 AM

    Just goes to show how difficult it is to replace the income from PPV. Wwe took a big risk while the UFC added a platform without the risk of replacing another.

    I don’t look at the wwe network as a bad idea. We have to remember why they made the network to start with. Their PPV was dying. So even through they are not generating what PPV was. PPV was in decline and riding it out would have destroyed the industry possibly. While even though network subscribers are not what was expected. I feel those numbers are sustainable and have potential for growth unlike their PPV.

    I think due to the size of wwe and the number of shows and tv deals they already have. They couldn’t have really done what the UFC did and create a network without replacing something. They have so many shows on cable and PPV and house shows that no one would ever pay more for extra content. The UFC hasn’t progressed to being spread so thin yet so a extra pay network was plausible.

  2. tops E on October 30th, 2014 12:26 PM
  3. tops E on October 30th, 2014 12:27 PM

    How many subscribers does ufc fightpass have?

  4. Pink Pig on October 30th, 2014 6:13 PM

    I heard Fight Pass has between 40,000 and 50,000 subscribers.

  5. Tired of losers on October 30th, 2014 7:32 PM

    Why you pathetic losers hate the ufc but spend your whole day researching everything about UFC. If you dislike UFC why spend all your time studying and bashing them? Both of you are the definition of a hater. Oh yeah when are you (TOPS and PINK PIG) going to get married?

  6. Chang on October 30th, 2014 8:04 PM

    Their PPV was dying.

    That’s not true. Look at the data.

  7. saldathief on October 30th, 2014 8:44 PM
  8. tops E on October 31st, 2014 12:05 AM
  9. d on November 1st, 2014 7:06 AM

    Haha. Tops/Sampson loves pro wrestling. He thinks it is real. Hahaha.

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