Wrestling News World Reacts To Business Insider's "Grim" WWE Network Article

Business Insider has a new article titled "The Money-Losing WWE Network Is Making Another Big Push For Subscribers" online looking at WWE offering a complete no-strings-attached free preview of their Network this week. The piece makes several claims that I feel are worth clearing up. We'll tackle them one by one:

From the article:

The offer, which doesn't even require people to provide a credit card number, is one of several recent indicators that the company isn't getting much closer to the 1.4 million global subscribers it needs to make the WWE Network profitable.

Reaction from WrestlingNewsWorld.com:

While we can assume "Free Preview Week" is a sign fans aren't buying the WWE Network as expected, the service isn't available in international markets. The time frame for launch in Phase 1 international countries (the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics) is still by the end of 2014/early 2015.

From the article:

The bad news for the company started in April, when it announced the WWE Network had only 667,000 subscribers after telling investors the service could debut with as many as 2 million.

Reaction from WrestlingNewsWorld.com:

While I truly believe WWE hoped to announce over 1 million subscribers the day after Wrestlemania XXX, they've repeatedly stated that as long as they reach 1 million domestic subscribers by the end of 2014, the launch of the WWE Network will be considered a success. I do not recall WWE ever throwing around the 2 million number. I'm not going to go as far as to saying the writer of the Business Insider piece made it up but I'd like to see proof.

UPDATE on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 11:51 AM EDT: The writer was quickly to provide a response on social media (I love Twitter):

End update.

From the article:

Last month, it fired nine wrestlers and the head writer of its most popular weekly television show, Monday Night Raw, amid rumors that it was looking to cut costs to make up for the money it's losing on the network.

And it has reportedly cut budgets and delayed production on two of the WWE Network's original programs.

Reaction from WrestlingNewsWorld.com:

WWE wants to show investors they are serious about "cutting costs." None of the releases were considered a surprise -- even talent that were on TV such as Jinder MahalDrew McIntyre or Aksana -- but WWE purposely made the releases public for strategic investor relations purposes.

The company continues to make cuts to their budget and have enacted a hiring freeze.

From the article:

As part of its push, the WWE put on an unusually eventful episode of Monday Night Raw this past week, one that featured the return of former champion Chris Jericho and two other prominent wrestlers who had not been on the show for months.

Reaction from WrestlingNewsWorld.com:

This is true. Chris Jericho became a priority when CM Punk walked out [in January] and that was only believed to have increased with Daniel Bryan's injury and Batista's time off. RVD is the exact same situation.

From the article:

Perhaps the biggest carrot for potential subscribers will come at August's Summerslam event, where the WWE is expected to put on a rematch between two of its most popular wrestlers — John Cena and Brock Lesnar.

Reaction from WrestlingNewsWorld.com:

100% true. WWE plans to John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam to not only entice people to signup but encourage people whose subscriptions will be expiring shortly thereafter to renew. Remember, initial subscriptions expire on Sunday, August 24, 2014, so the company wants to give current subscribers every reason to renew. They know a lackluster SummerSlam would spell disaster.

Click here to read the Business Insider article in its entirety.

  • Anthony

    Who are the “two other prominent wrestler who had not been on the show for months”?

    • supercilious1

      Miz and AJ.

    • Miz and AJ Lee.

      • Anthony

        Oh that’s right. This was in reference to last week’s episode. Thanks.

  • M.C Elroy

    The WWE can produce the best Summerslam in history and I still won’t renew my subscription. I can only take so much wrestling, I guess.

    • Gary Robert

      and will you buy a PPV within in the next 5 months?

  • Guest

    I’m going to renew and have gotten a friend back into wrestling. I hope the network turns a corner here and WWE can continue to add content to the service

  • K!NG

    5 months of paying for the wwe network covers the price of one monthly PPV that in it self is worth it to me or anyone else who buys WWE PPV. To me that should be the selling point

    • Gary Robert


  • Zack

    It’s funny because WWE knows a lackluster SummerSlam could spell disaster, yet Triple H is “iffy” about working it as of right now.

  • Splat

    It’s easily worthy $10 a month. I feel like I’m paying for the PPV’s and everything else is just a nice bonus.

  • Winnipeg

    They shouldn’t of jumped the gun and waited till they could include all countries. We are all ready over half done the year and if they fail to reach their target within summer slam, that gives them 4 months of scrambling which at that point you can assume the WWE Network was not a success. See what happens when you don’t included Canada :p

    • Bob’s Diner

      Getting 1 million worldwide instead of getting 1 million from the US is not the same thing. I don’t understand how people don’t understand this

      • Winnipeg

        Well basically this is the internet and not a actual physical product. Now with a actual physical product your going to want to have a test market for example your going to pick six different cities and if you reach your target number it’s a success and then you can start considering to offer your product on a global scale. But you need to increase your production spending, your marketing spending, distribution, and so on, so your going to have to increase your spending. Now with the internet, forget all that, you just need the proper clearances and you don’t need to spend extra on production, distribution, ect and therefore you wont need to increase your target number. You’ll still need marketing but if your a WWE fan you are all ready aware of the WWE Network.
        The other issue is in this day and age the cost of living is going up faster then wages, now $9.99 a month American is a great deal, however you need to make a six month commitment and pay upfront which is difficult because 76% of Americans live paycheque to paycheque.
        I get together with some friends and we split the cost of a PPV a few times a year but other then that, an hour after a PPV is over, it’s posted online for free in HD. They also need to compete with that.

        • Bob’s Diner

          Thanks for not answering in any relevant way.

          • Winnipeg

            Explain why that’s not relevant.

          • Bob’s Diner

            Holy cow…
            Where do I start?
            WWE’s goals – as stated many times – are 1 million domestic (meaning US subscribers) and then 1.5 million worldwide. You think that by making it all available now, they will reach 1 million worldwide and they probably will. But that doesn’t solve the problem that their goal is 1 million DOMESTIC – not worldwide.

            Your paragraphs above have absolutely nothing to do with any of that whatsoever.

          • Winnipeg

            They can build a their domain servers in Chicago and Chicago has really great connectivity close to three provinces Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Right there you got five million potential customers. Chicago has really good peering so it would be really cheap for them to include Canada because they already have a really good connectivity in all the major spots. Almost every if not all internet lines run through Chicago. In all reality it would be really cheap to expand the WWE networked for Canadian customers because since were on the same continent, Canada and the U.S most connected countries for almost all the Internet because all the Internet services run out of American servers and Canadian servers so there’s no reason why they should not be including Canada this initial run because were almost pretty much the same market.
            However you state “I don’t consider the network a failure” yet they need 1 million minimum subscribers to for the WWE Network to be a success. There’s rumors within WWE that the company may be on course to announce a decline in the number of subscribers for the WWE Network. Being seven months into the year there is only one more major push and that’s SummerSlam. Forget Survivor Series.
            Sorry bud but the numbers don’t lie and until the WWE Network is considered a success, I’m right. Relevant enough for ya? Kiss ur WWE Network goodbye, ha ha.

          • Bob’s Diner

            1 million domestic is the goal. Yes, including the rest of the world would get them closer to that 1 million. But they want much more than a million if it is worldwide. Again:
            1 million = DOMESTIC goal
            1.5 million = overall INTERNATIONAL goal

            I don’t see how you aren’t understanding this…

            Btw Canada and other countries aren’t included in this initial release for two reasons:
            1 – they are making sure they are making enough money from it before figuring out how much to charge in other countries
            2 – they have separate broadcast agreements for different countries, which can have major impacts on the content for each region. Example; NXT is actually available in Canada and the UK – broadcasting it on the network in those countries could be a breach of contract

            I really hope you can understand all this

  • Bob’s Diner

    I don’t consider the network a failure – it is getting all the current fans. I honestly don’t understand how people think it can get up to 2 million subscribers worldwide when they were only getting a MAXIMUM of 1 million people worldwide buying WrestleMania. Their current subscriber numbers point to them getting all the current fans. It isn’t a service aimed at anyone else.

    • This is a great point.

      • Bob’s Diner

        Thanks. I think a lot of people are too busy defending or trashing the network to really look at the simple facts of the numbers. It’s doing its job and the super low PPV buyrate for Extreme Rules proves it.

        • John

          The Network is a failure at this point in terms of how it matches up against WWE’s expectations. It doesn’t matter how great the content is.. If it doesn’t achieve what it was expected to, from a business standpoint, then it can only be descriped as a failure.

          All the numbers you mentioned are 100% correct, so the question is why did WWE put the target numbers at such an unrealistic level?

          • Bob’s Diner

            Indeed – that is the biggest question. Every time I look at their expectations I wonder what on Earth they were thinking and how they came to their conclusions

    • Justin

      I agree with your post except the part about getting all current wrestling fans to join it. There are many wrestking fans, including myself, who haven’t signed up for the WWE network.

      • Laura Hertzman

        And ones, like me, who will never sign up for that. I can find any of that stuff on that so-called “network” for free on the Internet.

  • Kevin Taylor

    This is great stuff!

  • AB

    It might be fair to say that WWE Network subscriptions are “below expectations”, but I think some people are throwing around the word “failure” too readily. I guess that’s the nature of the Internet and the popularity of “FAIL!” declarations, but it could be far worse for the Network.

    It would seem that the influx of new subscribers has tapered off a bit, given their current efforts to get more people to sign up. However, their goal was to get 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014, and they were two thirds of the way there after the first couple of months. That’s not too shabby. Had they only garnered 30,000 subscribers, or even just 100,000 subscribers, talk of it being a failure would be more appropriate.

    And even if the Network fails to garner the target amount of subscribers in its first year, the concept isn’t necessarily a failure in and of itself. I expect I’ll be giving it a try when it’s available in Australia, because it has a lot to offer a wrestling fan. It’s a great idea, a great product, but WWE might have been overly optimistic about it being widely popular and financially successful straight away.

  • John

    In terms of the future of the WWE Network, I think Night of Champions is the most important PPV since WrestleMania. NOC will be the first PPV after the initial 6 month Network subscriptions have ended so i expect a stacked card. I know Brock is already scheduled for that show and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Triple H vs. Roman Reigns match happened as well.

    • Bob’s Diner

      In my opinion, they need to focus less on the ‘special events’ and more on the overall content. The PPVs will only sell it so much – how about they come up with other reasons to purchase the network?

      • John

        Personally i think WWE does a terrible job of actually promoting what’s on the Network, unless of course you count the stupid jokes about how you can watch all of JBL’s matches etc. But yeah i think they could do a better job at creating better content for the Network. I mean nobody is signing up to watch a countdown of Vickie Guerrero’s top 10 moments, or to watch a show about the “The Monday Night War” where all of the interviews are from a DVD that was released 10 years ago!

        Easily the best thing that WWE has done on the Network was the Ultimate Warrior documentary, which they created in the space of a week, and it was awesome. Why they haven’t done more of these is beyond me.. Does someone really have to die before you can be bothered to make a documentary about them?!

        • SandeepBains

          Some of the DVD documentaries I haven’t seen and the Legends of Wrestling panels are among my favorite things on the network. If they made more like the Warrior documentary and put them on the network that would be awesome but they’d rather charge 30 bucks or whatever it is for it on Blu Ray.