When the WWE announced it was launching an online network, it announced a goal of 1 million paying subscribers by the end of 2014. According to a new WWE press release, they're well on their way:
WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced that WWE Network has 667,287 subscribers and is well on its way to reaching its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014 just 42 days after launching in the U.S., making it the fastest-growing digital subscription service. This announcement comes following a historic WrestleMania® 30, which aired live on WWE Network as well as on pay-per-view through satellite and cable providers from a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
WWE Network launched on February 24 in the U.S. and will be rolled out in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics in late 2014/early 2015.
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UFC Fight Pass Review
I go through everything I could find on the pay subscription of Fight Pass, and look at what they have. Including some original series, fight content, geographical issues and other pros and con.
It looks like Wall Street is not impressed with the 667K announcement as it expected a higher number of subscribers. The stock is taking a big hit as shares have gone done at least 20% today. We will see how this number is spun as the WWE is set to announce a new rights fee agreement in the coming weeks.
The network announcement for its subscribers should be seen as a success as there were many concerned about tech issues that would scare many away. However, there were few reported glitches on any platform for yesterday's big event despite the fact it was likely the most watched day for the network as most WWE subscribers and many curious non-wrestling fans tuned in to see it. Looking at this strategically, the timing of the announcement makes sense since one would think many signed up close to Wrestlemania to take advantage of the streaming as opposed to paying $70 on PPV.
The real test will be how (and if) the WWE can retain these subscribers. Wrestlemania was the big carrot for the network this year and realistically a one-time thing. How will the WWE continue to grow its subscribers to reach 1 million?
Based on this information, can we assume that UFC Fight Pass is having similar success? While the UFC will not release any information, the speculation is that it is doing well with its digital network and since it is now available for international fans, it probably continues to grow its subscriber base.
So if the WWE is taking a ding on Wall Street for 2/3 of a million subscribers, I have to once again applaud the Fertittas for not taking the UFC public.