At the end of WWE’s third quarter in October, the WWE Network had 731,000 subscribers, with 28,000 coming from foreign markets. It signed up 31,000 new subscribers during the period, but lost 255,000 after the initial six-month commitment ended.
WWE has since dropped that six-month requirement in order to increase subscriptions, which cost $9.99 a month. It offered a free month in November, as part of a trial period, which is being viewed as the cause for many of the new subscriber sign-ups.
Other reasons for the healthy numbers are the launch of the WWE Network in the United Kingdom, the company’s second largest market, as well as Sunday’s “Royal Rumble” pay-per-view.
Surpassing 1 million subscribers since the end of October represents a growth of 37% since the third quarter. Around 24% of that came from new members in the U.S.
The actual number — 1,000,648 — is the current subscriber count, as of Jan. 27, and after “Royal Rumble,” which was available in 170 countries and territories.
That’s after a group of very vocal fans took to Twitter shortly after the event, causing the hashtag #CancelWWENetwork to trend, to voice their disapproval of the show’s outcome.
It’s a significant milestone for a company that is betting big on going directly to its fanbase with its PPVs and vast library of shows — something a number of other content owners are now doing, including the NFL, CBS and HBO.
WWE will report its fourth quarter and full 2014 results on Feb. 12. The WWE Network launched on Feb. 24, 2014.
“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 and 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.”
WWE said that 90% of its subscribers access the network at least once a week, with 99% doing so at least once per month.
The over-the-top channel is accessible through Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PS4, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360 videogame consoles, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku devices, Sony and Samsung smart TVs.