WWE released the following today:
WWE Network Update: First Quarter Highlights
Network segment revenues increased 104% from the prior year quarter. WWE Network surpassed 1.3 million subscribers1 following WrestleMania 31 (as of March 29, 2015), making it the most viewed WrestleMania in history. The subscriber level at quarter-end was nearly double the number of subscribers reported on April 7, 2014 – the day after WrestleMania last year – and represented a 33% increase since January 27, 2015, when the network surpassed the 1 million subscriber milestone. Subscriber growth since January was driven by the iconic attraction of the Company’s WrestleMania event and the success of WWE Network’s February free promotion. During the quarter, the Company continued to broaden the network’s global distribution, launching it in the U.K. and Middle East, and expanding distribution in Canada. From inception through March 31, 2015, WWE Network had attracted nearly 1.8 million unique subscribers with 74% of these subscribers active as of that date.
WWE Network’s compelling live and new original content continued to drive viewer engagement. WWE Network’s most viewed programs were led by the Company’s pay-per-views, original series, NXT Live, and other specials.
During the quarter, 94% of total subscribers accessed WWE Network at least once per month. WWE Network subscribers watched an estimated average of 53 hours of content per household over the quarter putting it among Netflix and the top cable and broadcast networks in terms of viewer hours per household.
(For additional information, see the Company’s First-Quarter 2015 Earnings Presentation, which can be found on the Company’s web site at ir.corporate.wwe.com)
WWE Network added 511,000 subscribers to reach 1,327,000 paid subscribers at March 31, 2015, representing a 63% increase from year-end 2014. The subscriber growth reflected the acquisition of 795,000 subscribers, which was 13% above the gross subscriber additions in the prior year period from the network’s launch through WrestleMania (February 24, 2014 – April 6, 2014).
WWE Network attracted an average of approximately 927,000 paid subscribers for the first quarter 2015, representing a 29% increase from the fourth quarter 2014 average.2 The network’s February free promotion contributed to that growth, attracting approximately 201,000 trial subscribers, of which 154,000, or 77%, converted to paying subscribers in March.
The Company continued to broaden the global distribution of WWE Network. During the quarter, the network was made available in the U.K. and Ireland in mid-January for £9.99 per month and €12.99 per month, respectively, and was launched in the Middle East and North Africa in late March as a premium linear channel. Additionally, Rogers Communications, the Company’s exclusive network distribution partner in Canada, reached agreements that made WWE Network available nationally in Canada before WrestleMania (March 29). At quarter-end, WWE Network had approximately 196,000 international subscribers.3
(1),(3) Subscriber numbers in UK/Ireland are subject to local consumer protection laws and regulations governing fee charges.
(2) Average paid subscribers are calculated based on the arithmetic daily mean over the relevant period, and may differ substantially from paid subscribers at the end of any period due to the timing of paid subscriber additions. Trial subscribers acquired during a promotional period are not counted as paying subscribers until they convert after the end of the free period.
WWE Network Update: Future Plans
To grow WWE Network, the Company is executing a five-part strategy, including creating new content, implementing high impact customer acquisition and retention programs, introducing new features, expanding distribution platforms, and entering new geographies. Over the remainder of 2015, the Company is focused on expanding the network’s line-up of compelling original content as a critical element of this strategy.
Programming: In addition to the premium monthly live pay-per-view events, WWE Network unveiled new programming for the remainder of 2015, which includes eight brand new original series and partnerships with director Jeff Tremaine, Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and legendary talk show host Jerry Springer. In addition, in the new show, Diva Search, WWE will span the globe in search of the most beautiful, athletic and charismatic women in the world to find the next stunning WWE Diva. WWE Network will also produce compelling special programming and short form content while continuing to add 1,000 hours to its robust video-on-demand library, which currently has more than 3,000 hours of content. (For more details of WWE Network’s programming line-up, please see the Company’s March 30, 2015 programming release).
Promotions: Based on the successful execution of the network’s free trial offerings, the Company will continue its sampling program. All new subscribers who register for the network in May will receive the network for free in that month, including WWE Payback live on Sunday, May 17.
Features/Distribution: Other important elements of the Company’s network strategy include improving the user experience and content discovery across devices, while continuing to expand distribution platforms.
Geographies: The Company is developing plans for geographic expansion to India, China, Germany, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Malaysia.