WWE executives George Barrios and Michelle Wilson hosted a conference call on April 3 to discuss the latest WWE Network subscriber count. Refresh the page for our latest updates.
-Michael Weitz opened the call and noted that they were having technical issues with a service they use to release their press releases, but one will be available on the network number on the corporate website.
-Barrios took over the call and sang the praises of WrestleMania 33.
-Barrios announced the WWE Network subscription count is “nearly 2 million subscribers.” Paid subscribers were up 14 percent from last year after WM32.
-The average paid subscriber count for quarter one was 1.49 million.
Powell’s POV: Here’s hoping that one of the callers from the financial world intends to push them for details on how much of the “nearly 2 million” count is paid versus people taking advantage of their free offers.
-Barrios turned the call over to Wilson, who spoke about the addition of 205 Live to the content of the network, and the special programming that was the UK Title tournament. She also spoke about the second season of the Edge & Christian Show, WWE Story Time, and the WWE 24 tournament.
-They will be holding a 32-woman tournament that will air on the network.
-They opened up the lines for calls.
-A caller asked for guidance on OIBDA growth and where quarter one stands. Barrios spoke about how some quarters will be higher than others. Barrios said they don’t want to characterize their projections one way or another.
-The next caller asked about international numbers leading into WrestleMania and where they are seeing the biggest uplift. He also asked about the multiple promotions they had for free and reduced rate and questioned which showed the biggest uplift. Barrios mentioned that domestic was up about 12 percent and international was up about 23 percent from last year. Wilson said they put the first month of WWE Network for free more than the others.
-The next caller said he was unable to find the exact number and asked for specifics on the call (amen). Barrios said 1.949 million was the total overall subscribers (paid and unpaid), and the total paid subscribers was 1.661 million.
-The next caller asked whether they have gathered feedback about the quality of WrestleMania. Barrios said WM had 18 million social media fan engagement, which was up from last year, and said digital media was also up.
-The caller asked about WrestleMania being available in China. Barrios said the network is available in every country other than China. He said they are working with PPTV as a distribution partner. He said WM was available as video on demand. “We’re going to keep working on that strategy, but it’s a new market,” he said. Barrios noted that even Netflix intends to license their content in China rather than run direct.
-The next caller asked about new plans for content or subscription offers to help maintain subs. Wilson mentioned the cruiserweight tournament and how that led to 205 Live. She said their subscribers are looking for more in-ring content, and then she plugged the women’s tournament again and said it will happen “sometime in the second or third quarter.” She also plugged the E&C Show and WWE Story Time again.
-The caller asked about using independents on the network. Wilson said they are continuing to look at super serving their fans.
-The caller asked if there are pay-per-view buys yet. Barrios said the numbers won’t be in for a while, but it’s not large numbers who are ordering that way.
-This wrapped up the conference call.
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