In this week's roundup, we take a look at the WWE quarterly financial report, the change of a pay-per-view, and more:
** The WWE had its quarterly financial report Thursday. The main topic was the WWE Network and its subscriptions. They announced 731,000 subscribers (including international subscribers), which is only an increase of 31,000 from three months ago. An interesting note is that they announced how many unique subscribers had ever signed up, which was 971,000, which means that 25 percent of people who signed up at any point have such canceled.
In response to this, the WWE announced that they were changing the subscription system for the Network, so people do not have to subscribe for six months at a time. Instead, subscribers can cancel at any time with no penalty, to make their system comparable to Netflix and Hulu Plus.
This also will allow people to buy in for whatever pay-per-view they'd like to see and then cancel immediately after, in essence buying pay-per-views a la carte for $9.99. Also, any new subscribers who subscribe in the next month will get November, including Survivor Series, for free.
Despite what Vince McMahon and others said on the conference call, I think the numbers had to have been a little shocking at this point, particularly how few subscribers the international rollout has brought.
The move to monthly buys, as opposed to locking in customers for months at a time, seems to go against what many assumed to be one of the principles of moving to the Network, the idea that while they might lose money on the big pay-per-views, like WrestleMania, they'll gain more from the smaller events that people were locked in for just to get WrestleMania.
The Network is expected to roll out in the United Kingdom shortly, and if that doesn't bring in a sizable group of subscribers, then the WWE may really start to wonder if the Network was a good idea.
** It appears that the WWE will no longer have the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View in February. They recently trademarked the name WWE Fast Lane, and according to many reports, that is the name of the pay-per-view that will fall during that portion of the calendar, with Elimination Chamber moving move to the summer, likely June or July.
With the unification of the titles, this seemed like an obvious move for the company to make. As seen last year, with the No. 1 contender to the title locked in by the Royal Rumble and only one belt to contest, the Elimination Chamber really has no purpose. The likelihood of a wrestler dropping the title a month before WrestleMania is slim. When there were two belts, as well as the possibility of wrestling for a No. 1 contender spot, the pay-per-view made sense in February. Now, it could work as either a start to the SummerSlam build or the final stop before SummerSlam, truly turning the summer months into the Road to SummerSlam.
It's the first time, really since Tough Enough aired, that WWE has pulled back the curtain on the tryout process. It makes me wonder exactly why they decided to air this. I think part of the reason may have been to gauge the public's interest on that side of wrestling, the tryouts and the performance center.
There have been rumors for months that a new season of Tough Enough could be filmed for the Network, and this could be the way to gauge interest. It's also interesting to note that at the end of the interview, they openly advertise for people to apply for a WWE tryout.
** It's worth noting that as of Wednesday night, TNA has a new World Heavyweight Champion in Bobby Roode, as he beat Bobby Lashley for the title. Dixie Carter has also teased a big announcement for later this week, which may be an announcement of a new TV deal, or possibly the re-signing of Kurt Angle.