Network already profitable at 400,000; WWE needs 1 million to break even overall when factoring in lost PPV coin
The WWE Network is close to turning a profit less than two months after launching. In fact, it already has when you start breaking down the numbers.
The WWE announced early Monday that the all-digital streaming service, that launched in the U.S. on Feb. 24, has 667,287 subscribers.
Subscribers pay $9.99 a month with a six month commitment — meaning $120 to access the WWE Network and all of its PPVs for a full year. Buying them on an individual basis elsewhere would cost around $600, depending on whether they’re in HD or not.
What that means is that when factoring in costs to operate the WWE Network app and online service, the platform already has turned a profit. It only needed 400,000 subscribers to do that, according to sources close to the network inside WWE.
Up until now, however, WWE has only said it needs 1 million subscribers in order to break even and hopes to reach that figure by the end of 2014, and grow to 2 to 3 million over the next several years.
That actually refers to the money it spent on creating new shows, digitizing its library and the loss of revenue from pay-per-views as a result of offering them on the WWE Network at a cheaper rate. Cable and satellite TV providers have worried about the cannibalization of WWE’s PPV business because of the network, and the 1 million figure clearly refers to that impact.
Announcement follows Sunday’s “WrestleMania 30,” which took place in New Orleans, selling out the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The event, which is typically bought by around 1 million people each year making it the WWE’s Super Bowl, was clearly key in getting WWE to its current batch of subscribers. The test will be not only enticing more people with additional PPVs and programming but keeping its current base once the first six months expire.
“WrestleMania 30” was shown both on the WWE Network and through traditional cable and satellite pay-per-view providers, including DirecTV and Dish Network, in the U.S. and in more than 100 countries on other services.
There were few hiccups for the WWE Network on Sunday. Outside of some complaints of stuttery streams and other glitches, the online stream of WWE’s biggest PPV went off without suffering a major issue.
Event broke the record as the Superdome’s highest grossing entertainment event with $10.9 million, the fifth consecutive year “WrestleMania” has done so for a host venue. WWE said 75,167 from all 50 states and 37 countries were in attendance.
WWE has yet to reveal total PPV buys for “WrestleMania 30,” during which the Undertaker ended his winning streak of 21 ‘Manias.
The company will next roll out the WWE Network in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordic countries in late 2014 and early 2015.
The streaming service, which offers a line up of original series, all of the company’s upcoming and past pay-per-views, and access to a library of over 1,500 hours of content from WWE’s library of over 100,000 hours of shows, is available online, on all mobile devices, Apple TV and Roku set-top boxes, Sony’s PlayStation consoles and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.