A couple of days ago, WWE updated their key performance indicators for the calendar years of 2012-2014, which revealed that Extreme Rules drew 107,000 buys on pay-per-view (PPV), which was composed of 40,000 buys in North America and 67,000 buys elsewhere.
The statistic is of importance, as Extreme Rules was the first non-WrestleMania PPV event broadcast on the WWE Network. It should be noted that the show wasn't carried by the two biggest satellite providers in the United States, DirecTV and Dish Network, which makes comparisons to previous totals a bit tricky, but we'll try regardless.
Here's how the last four Extreme Rules shows did:
2011: 216,000 = 108,000 North American + 108,000 international (John Cena vs. The Miz vs. John Morrison)
2012: 271,000 = 159,000 North American + 112,000 international (Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena)
2013: 245,000 = 137,000 North American + 108,000 international (Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H)
2014: 107,000 = 40,000 North American + 67,000 international (Daniel Bryan vs. Kane, The Shield vs. Evolution).
Comparing with 2011, as Lesnar boosted the figures in 2012 and 2013, but wasn't on this year's event, that's a 63% drop in North America and a 38% drop overseas.
The substantial decline in international PPV business is further evidence (if we needed it already) that a significant proportion of WWE Network subscribers already come from outside of the U.S., even though the channel has yet to be officially rolled out in foreign markets. That's a double-edged sword for WWE. Without these extra overseas subscribers, their initial subscription figures would have been even more disappointing and may have led to an even bigger stock drop, but it suggests that when the service is made available internationally later this year, the subscriber increase won't be as big as expected or required.
The North American numbers include Canada and Puerto Rico, so U.S. buys would be down to around 30,000 homes, close to a 70% decrease, a much bigger decline than WrestleMania 30 saw. That's good news if that's a sign that they've turned much more of their PPV audience into Network subscribers in the four weeks between the two events; not so good news if it was mainly due to a significant proportion of Network subscribers also purchasing WrestleMania on PPV for fear the online stream would crash.
It's not quite at TNA levels yet, but for all intents and purposes, traditional pay-per-view is now dead for WWE in the United States, and likely will be worldwide by the end of 2015. So long live the WWE Network!