WWE Digital Network Signs Up Over 600,000 Subscribers in First 42 Days
UPDATED: Its WrestleMania 30 event over the weekend grossed $10.9 million and broke records in New Orleans, despite being on the streaming channel as well.
The WWE Digital streaming network, which launched 42 days ago, has signed up 667,287 subscribers and, according to the company, is well on its way to reaching its goal of 1 million subscribers by year's end.
WWE says that makes it "the fastest-growing digital subscription service."
Still, the price of WWE stock fell on Monday from an opening high of $27 a share to about $23 near the closing bell. That is because many stock market analysts had expected even high numbers for the digital network.
WWE said it will make its streaming service available in Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordic regions late this year or in early 2015.
There has been a lot of controversy over WWE's decision to go directly to its consumers with a 24/7 streaming service that costs a flat $9.99 per month rather than continuing to offer its programming over broadcast, cable and satellite networks, such as USA and SyFy.
While no deal was reached with the NBC Universal networks by a deadline under which there was an exclusive negotiating window, those talks do continue, according ot a source. If no deal is reached those shows will continuie on the NBC Universal networks until September.
WWE also expects its two big shows SmackDown and WWE Raw to continue either on those channels or others, even with the new streaming channel.
While there are other streaming networks, such as Netflix and Amazon, this is considered one of the first times that programming that's already a hit on traditional TV outlets has become an online streaming service. That means instead of going through middlemen like cable channels and satellite services, publicly traded WWE now has a direct route to its core customer base.
Over the weekend, the WWE did offer its latest special event, WrestleMania 30, both on the streaming service and via pay-per-view outlets, including Dish Network. WWE reports it "broke the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome's highest grossing entertainment event. "
"This marks the fifth consecutive year that WWE broke the host venue's highest-grossing entertainment event record," the company announced. "WWE's annual pop-culture extravaganza grossed $10.9 million with a sold-out crowd of 75,167 from all 50 states and 37 countries."
WrestleMania 30 was seen in 100 countries and in 20 languages. "The previous gross revenue record for an entertainment event at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was the three-day Essence Festival in 2013 featuring Beyonce," according to WWE.
WrestleMania 31 is scheduled for March 29, 2015, in Santa Clara, Calif.