Just an hour before the start of UFC 168 on December 28, the UFC gave their official announcement of the digital service UFC Fight Pass. The online network is set to feature live international events like last week's UFC Fight 34 which was the first show to be broadcast. Additionally, it features exclusive behind the scenes pre- and post-fight content and will eventually hold Zuffa's entire fight library. All at the price of $9.99 per month subscription fee.
While the network wasn't completely set up at launch, the UFC gave away 60 days of the service for free before it all goes live on March 1.
On Wednesday night the WWE, one of the UFC's biggest competitors for the 18-35 male demographic, announced their own digital network. Many of the features are very similar. They'll roll out their full library on the service, like Zuffa, including their competitors' historic libraries that the company has bought the rights to. They'll have pre- and post-event content exclusive to the network as well.
But, where the WWE really broke the mold was including all 12 of their yearly pay-per-view events in the service. That's right, every one of their monthly PPVs will be available as part of the $9.99 per month subscription fee. That includes their biggest event Wrestlemania which typically draws around 1M buys, as well as other notable events like Royal Rumble and Summerslam.
One final note comes from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer - to be profitable, the WWE will need one million subscribers while the UFC will need only one tenth of that audience.
While including the PPV's adds huge value to the WWE digital product, it must be noted that there are key differences between the UFC and WWE in the pay-per-view business. First, the WWE earns a much smaller percentage of their annual revenue through PPV than the UFC. They get most of their money from television and marketing deals while approximately just over 50% of the UFC's revenue comes from their PPV events. Additionally, aside from the big events like Wrestlemania, the WWE's PPV business has been seeing far less return on investment than the UFC's.
The WWE digital service will launch on February 24 at 11:05 p.m. ET just after that night's edition of Monday night RAW. While the service works out to $9.99 per month, it does require a 6 month commitment upon purchase.