clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE Network wins because it's designed for success, not greed

Sorry Mr. Gekko, but sometimes greed isn't good.


I have a couple of friends in my inner circle who each bought a gym membership awhile back for around ten bucks a month.

And after an enthusiastic start, they got bored and stopped going.

You would think they would either get their asses in the gym or just cancel their membership, but they don't, because they never look at their monthly statements and think OMFG, another $60 for the gym?

That's why my part of town -- admittedly hoity-toity -- can sustain a fancy new gym every few miles.

It's a far cry from the old days, when you had to sign over your first born, commit to a 20-year membership and somehow justify a huge monthly expense. But these days, the "new" fitness centers -- which all come with state-of-the-art equipment -- know that $10 a month is not enough motivation to jump ship.

Not when you compare it to the price of a movie ticket or a tall caramel latte.

How do gyms profit with such low membership fees? Easily ... because that kind of asking price gets triple the amount of subscribers with the built-in understanding that half of them will never use it. You know, New Year's resolutions and various other lies we tell ourselves.

If everyone who signed up actually showed up, the gym would be shut down by the fire marshal.

WWE is no different.

Just take a look at the comments section of this week's posts dedicated to the new WWE Network, which will also cost $10 per month. Everyone is overjoyed but more importantly, most of us are lining up to commit. And like the gym, we're likely to go hard and heavy in the beginning and peter out after a few weeks.

In fact, WWE is counting on it.

It's also counting on us to look at our monthly statements and think "Meh, I'll hang on to it for (insert upcoming pay-per-view event here). That's why it's a recurring charge as opposed to, "Give us $60 and we'll see you in six months."

Sticker shock is death to a membership renewal.

Not coincidentally, there is a PPV every month to coincide with whenever your membership expires. Fans think they are the real winners in this deal, but in actuality, everyone comes out on top.

If WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was giving us an accurate number and not a "forward-looking statement" in terms of how many subscribers it needs to break even, then one million is not only attainable, it's laughable.

Just try to imagine how many fans WWE has worldwide.

It's hard to appreciate how popular the brand is until you consider how difficult it is to sell out an arena twice a week every week for an entire calendar year. I try to go to the RAW and Smackdown events when they hit the New York City area and when I do, I'm always astonished at the turnout.

That's also why WWE is constantly on the move ... to leave you wanting.

We know that people will sign up, get their fill and bail after six months. That's expected. But the majority won't, because watching PPV events is like playing the pro wrestling nickel slots. Even when you get stiffed, you convince yourself the next spin is going to pay out.

And it does, even if it's just enough to keep you paying playing.

In addition, WWE also knows that most people will opt to flick on the television to watch the weekly shows instead of taking advantage of the digital stream. If you come home late from work or just finish up dinner, do you want to plop down on the couch with the remote and a cold beer, or tinker with your digital device?

Again, this is not all-inclusive, but rather majority rules.

As a parent, I'm getting it just so I can reclaim the downstairs television and send my kid to another room with her iPad on Friday nights. That's worth $10 a month to me. And because not every person who joins will be using it simultaneously -- like the gym's maximum occupancy -- there shouldn't be a lag in the stream.

Well, maybe in the beginning, when everyone is gung ho.

After that, it should be smooth sailing. Not just for fans, who can fire up their individual devices and get their fill of pro wrestling when they're clamoring for it, but also for WWE, as it extends a low cost, high subscriber pipeline into its financial war chest.

$10 at a time.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats