WWE sent out the following on Thursday confirming that the updated subscriber figures for the WWE Network was 1,233,000 as of 9/30/15, with an average of 1,173,000.
WWE Network Update: Third Quarter Highlights
Network segment OIBDA reached $40.2 million on a trailing twelve-month basis, which is comparable to the recent average annual OIBDA results of the Company’s pay-per-view business before Network launch. Network segment revenue increased 57% from the prior year quarter. Supporting the growth in revenue, WWE Network had 1,233,000 paid subscribers at quarter end, and averaged approximately 1,173,000 paid subscribers during the quarter, representing a 62% increase from the prior year quarter.1 During the quarter, the Company premiered more than 85 hours of original content on WWE Network, increased the network’s comprehensive on-demand library to more than 3,700 hours, and continued to broaden its global distribution. From inception through September 30, 2015, WWE Network attracted nearly 2.3 million unique subscribers with approximately 54% of these subscribers active as of that date.
Original content: WWE Network’s compelling live and original content, including the Company’s pay-per-views, original series, NXT Live, and other specials continued to drive viewer engagement. Among the content that debuted during the quarter, live event specials Beast in the East (produced from Japan on July 4th) and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn (produced in the U.S. on August 22nd) were among the network’s top programs. Episodes of the original series Swerved (produced with Jeff Tremaine, Director of Jackass and Bad Grandpa) and Stone Cold Podcast continued to garner a high level of viewership, and the live event special, Live from Madison Square Garden, which was produced in New York on October 3rd, recently became the network’s most watched program to date (excluding pay-per-view).
Acquisition & Retention: To acquire and engage subscribers, the Company utilized its sizeable social media and digital assets, including video sampling on Facebook and WWE.com, leveraged the network’s “watch list” technology, and in October introduced a three-month subscription card exclusively at Walmart. The card is intended to facilitate subscriptions by enabling a “no credit card required” payment option.
Customer engagement: During the quarter, 90% of subscribers accessed WWE Network at least once per month. Consumer research indicates that 91% of subscribers are satisfied with WWE Network.
Content distribution: The Company continued to expand distribution, making the network available on Android TV and Windows 10 platforms in August. Additionally, the Company continued to broaden the global distribution of WWE Network, which was made available in Italy and Malaysia in July 2015. At quarter-end, WWE Network had approximately 243,000 international subscribers.
(1)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. The Company is focused on expanding the network’s line-up of compelling original content as a critical element of this strategy.
Programming: The Company expects to add approximately 90 hours of original content to the network’s featured programming in the fourth quarter 2015. Exciting original programming coming to the network includes Breaking Ground, a reality series in the style of HBO’s Hard Knocks, which chronicles what it takes to become a WWE Superstar; NXT Takeover: London, a live event special produced from Wembley Arena in the U.K. (December 16th); as well as new episodes of WWE 24 and Stone Cold Podcast. In addition, the Company will continue to expand WWE Network’s robust video-on-demand library, which currently has more than 3,700 hours of content.
Acquisition & Retention: The Company plans to further leverage its sizeable social media and digital assets to acquire and retain new subscribers. On October 25, the Company aired the premiere episode of Breaking Ground, a network original, on Facebook and YouTube. Plans call for the increasing use of video sampling on Facebook, YouTube and WWE.com to build awareness of WWE Network and its compelling programs. The Company is also continuing investment in its data analytics platform to enable a personalized network viewing experience.
Features/Distribution: Other important elements of the Company’s network strategy include improving the user experience and content discovery across devices and continuing to expand distribution platforms. Over the coming months, the Company will continue to improve the user experience by enhancing the network’s search functionality, adding the ability to organize content as themed “collections” and allowing non-subscribers the ability to explore the breadth and depth of programs available on the service.
Geographies – India, Germany and Japan: The Company will make WWE Network available across the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan) on November 2nd, as well as Germany and Japan in January 2016, and continues to develop plans for geographic expansion to China, Thailand and the Philippines.