Jim Ross would be proud. The WWE is surprising many by dropping their subscription commitment of six-months for online subscribers. The figure-four leg lock is gone for people needing their fix of WWE wrestling.
Launched in February of this year, the WWE Network demanded a six-month commitment at $9.99 a month. Contracts and subscribers? Not a good match. Now, the company is dropping the requirement in an attempt to boost subscribers.
Right now, the WWE Networks has just over 700,000 subscribers. The cost of launching the online network is still impacting its earnings, forcing the company into a loss for the third quarter of $5.9 million. Subscriber retention is a big issue for the network. Though the company had a net addition of 31,000 subscribers, 255,000 dropped the service once the six months was up.
Switching to the Netflix model isn’t only appealing to the consumer, it makes business sense. It creates the semblance of a bargain for consumers. They aren’t locked in, and they have the feeling of ‘it’s just $9.99 per month.’
Another issue WWE has run into is alienating existing partners. Launching its own service has in turn pushed Dish and DirecTV to stop hosting the pay-per-view events. The move has cratered the revenue WWE receives by 56%. You have to wonder how the satellite providers will react when HBO and CBS launch their services next year.
It will be something to watch in the coming months. Pay-per-view might just be the first shot in a coming war between networks and various providers.
For a bit of nostalgia, here’s a collection of Jim Ross, famed announcer, greatest hits. His enthusiasm never gets old.