WrestleMania is pile driving growth for the direct-to-consumer streaming service WWE Network, which has amassed nearly 2 million subscribers following the annual event.
As of April 3, WWE Network has 1.95 million subscribers, up from 1.82 million the day after last year’s WrestleMania. Of course, it’s worth noting that many of those subscribers are still on a free trial and are not yet paid subscribers. WWE Network has 1.661 million paid subscribers, up 14% from one year ago. The majority of those subscribers (1.45 million) are domestic, but the service’s international subscriber count is growing. International subscribers (paid and free trial) total 497,000, up 15%. Total paid international subscribers are up 23% from one year ago.
“Results today demonstrate that we are effectively executing our multiplatform content strategy,” said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon in a statement. “WWE Network continues to drive transformative growth for our company and is a key element of our global content ecosystem, which includes traditional television, digital and social platforms and our direct-to-consumer service (WWE Network).”
“With nearly 2 million total subscribers, more households than ever before watched WrestleMania on WWE Network,” said George Barrios, WWE chief strategy and financial officer, in a statement. “Given the ongoing strong growth of WWE Network, we continue to expect record subscriber levels and record revenue in 2017 as we achieve targeted record profits.”
To put it in perspective, WWE Network is still well behind SVOD leaders like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in terms of subscribers. As of the fourth quarter, Netflix has about 93 million total subscribers.
But 2 million total subscribers puts WWE Network on par with HBO Now, which recently passed the same total. It also put WWE Network ahead of Showtime OTT, which is reportedly at around 1.5 million subscribers, and CBS All Access, which is reportedly not far behind Showtime.
Looking ahead to its fiscal second quarter, WWE said that if the acquisition and retention of subscribers driven by WrestleMania is consistent with the subscriber activity associated with the prior year event, the range of average paid subscribers for the second quarter 2017 would be 1.63 million, up about 8% year-over-year.