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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Examining The WWE Network Subscriber Numbers
Posted by Justin Watry on 05.08.2014

On April 7th, 2014, the WWE Network announced that 667,287 have subscribed. Coming the day after WrestleMania XXX, it was big news for many fans. There had been a ton of discussion and debate over how many people signed up from late February up to the biggest event of the year on April 6th. The answer was finally there in front of us: just over 667,000. Most within WWE and industry experts agreed that the mark to hit was one million by the end of 2014. That was the target goal to "break even." Everything after that was smooth sailing. Now a full month later, the question remains: how many WWE subscribers are there? Well, let us all take a look at what has changed from April 7th to now...

Note: This is an opinion piece. Nothing stated in this column is fact.

Best of WWE Hall of Fame special: Believe it or not, I saw this press release on non-wrestling websites. Somehow, someway, WWE was able to promote this special presentation. Personally, it did not interest me very much. For the simple fact that it did reach the mainstream just a bit tells me there was some interest from the casual fans. How many people really cared enough to subscribe to the WWE Network? That is a tough decision. I can not imagine many immediately reached for their credit card to plunk down $10 for the Hall of Fame footage. For that alone, it is hard to believe this altered the subscriber count.

WWE Network subscriber count inches up a few thousand.

Ultimate Warrior Week: Very tragic. Shortly after WrestleMania XXX< the wrestling world was stunned by the passing of Ultimate Warrior. Whether you loved the guy or hated the guy, it was a huge shocker. In true WWE fashion, they immediately got their production crew together, filmed interviews and put together an excellent barrage of Ultimate Warrior tributes. A full week was dedicated to him on the WWE Network. I think the company had to toe a fine line here with keeping it respectful but not trying to come off as classless and profiting off a death. Now at the same time, there was an online report about the new Warrior DVD suddenly selling well in stores. That usually happens when somebody passes away. How that translated to new WWE Network subscribers though may be a different story...

WWE Network subscriber count goes up a little bit.

Sting: You can not see Sting on Raw. You have not seen him on Smackdown. Or any other WWE show...except for some new WWE Network footage. If you are an old school wrestling fan and big Stinger supporter, he has appeared on the network. That has to be some kind of incentive, right?

WWE Network subscriber count gains a few fans.

XBOX ONE: I am not a big gamer. I have not played a wrestling game in years. I have not purchased a WWE video game in nearly a decade, much less any other title on a system I do NOT even own. However, XBOX ONE users are definitely out there. The WWE Network is officially available on that platform - something that was not there before WrestleMania XXX. The subscriber count inches up, but not by much.

WWE Network subscriber count crawls up...barely.

Another One Week Free Trial: This had to bother a lot of fans. I had already subscribed to the WWE Network. However, I am a big wrestling fan. I was going to watch WMXXX no matter what. Where this had to bother fans was all the casuals out there who tune in for Mania and Mania ONLY all year long. Imagine being one of the 400,000 fans who had paid $50 for the show on pay-per-view. Then WWE is promoting another "one week free trial" WITH WrestleMania XXX available. That had to hurt a bit, especially on their wallets. Same with the the current subscribers. People had just subscribed and put down $10 per month for the biggest event of the year. Yet, WWE was offering it up basically for nothing days later. I know Netflix and others services do this kind of thing, but the question is did it work? Did yet another one week free trial (with Mania) hook in new subscribers...or was it just giving away the biggest event of the year with no results?

WWE Network subscriber count grabs a few stragglers with the one week free trial.

Legends House: There was no words for this. Regardless of how you feel about this mess, reality television is all over the place and like the Best of HOF special, this was able to be promoted through the mainstream. Non-wrestling fans knew about Legends House. I have to suspect there were a few out there willing to jump on board for the "crash TV" aspect. Keep in mind there are Netflix series out there exclusive to the platform. Just like Legends House is exclusive to the WWE Network...

WWE Network subscriber count hooks a few, few, few, few, few fans with their own reality show.

WWE Extreme Rules: How many wrestling fans would purchase Extreme Rules on the WWE Network but PASS on WrestleMania XXX? That is the struggle in my mind. Was it due to availability? Internet service? Maybe hesitation over the stream working properly? Waiting for positive reviews first? To me, if you were going to get the WWE Network, you would have done so by the time May 4th arrived. Extreme Rules had a solid line-up. The Shield taking on Evolution was a fairly cool dream match that could have grabbed new subscribers. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt had a certain uniqueness to their rematch. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan was nothing amazing in the build but was for the WWE World Title. Including the new "Yes Man" of the wrestling world. Again though, who would purchase the WWE Network for Extreme Rules but not already for WM XXX?

WWE Network subscriber count goes up for Extreme Rules, maybe the most in the past month.

WWE Shop-Referral Deal: This is the latest attempt to hook in new subscribers. Offer up a referral deal for WWE Shop, sacrifice a couple bucks on the side in hopes of bringing in a bunch of new customers. Again, it is nothing new from Netflix like services or any company for that matter. Just get you in the door, so to speak! The deal was just introduced a few days ago, but my gut instinct is this will work to limited success. Great deal on the surface, but nothing is bigger than WrestleMania XXX! If you have not signed up yet, I am not sure a $25 WWEShop gift card will do the trick.

WWE Network subscriber count barely moves (it is early though).

In conclusion, WWE announced a subscriber count of 667,000 on April 7th, 2014. Nearly a month later, the company has pulled out a few little tricks to get closer to the one million mark. Remember, this is without overseas availability or many other countries. I can only guess as to how many MORE fans will join then in late 2014 or early 2015. Until then, my estimate is going to fall in the 50,000-100,000 range for new WWE Network subscribers since April 7th. Pretty broad number I know. Just a guess. That brings the total to 750,000-800,000 right now. Slowly but surely near the one million target by the end of the year.

What do all of YOU think? How many WWE Network subscribers are there now and why?


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