The WWE Network has been the standard for premium WWE content releases for the last six years and has helped normalized OTT video-on-demand platforms. However, there was almost a plan for the WWE Network to be a traditional television channel.
WWE Chief Branding Officer, Stephanie McMahon revealed on the CMO Moves podcast that while initially crafting the concept of WWE Network, there were plans to go with a linear television structure but upon doing some research, it was decided that an OTT service would be the best way to go.
“[WWE Network currently has] around, and of course, there’s a lot of trim, but we’re around two million subscribers, and you think about the fact that we intentionally cannibalized our own pay-per-view business and it was a huge risk, particularly at that time. It was a really big calculated risk and that’s what we believe in, taking calculated risks and it was based on research,” Stephanie said. “We were actually pretty far down the pipe with a linear deal, but they wanted to lock up our rights for ten years and we saw this opportunity. So we did some more research, [and we] found that our fans were five times more likely to watch online video than at that time, just in America than the American norm, and we decided we had a real opportunity and that’s why we went for it and it was hugely profitable for us. More than doubled what we were doing on pay-per-view.”
On recent investor calls, Vince McMahon has revealed that the company has once again had conversations with “majors” in regards to the video-on-demand rights but with the Coronavirus Pandemic, those talks fell through.
Elsewhere In the interview, Stephanie McMahon discusses what it was like to get ready for the WrestleMania 34 match against Ronda Rousey and why she feels it is important for her as a WWE executive to take bumps and understand what the talent goes through. You can read her comments at this link.
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