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WWE Network subscriptions hurt by PayPal cancellations and password sharing?

The ease with which PayPal customers can stop automatic payments to WWE for the WWE Network service, thus circumventing their six-month commitment, and the limited safeguards in place to prevent multiple people using the same account could be hurting the Network's subscription figures.

Still plenty of teething problems with the WWE Network
Still plenty of teething problems with the WWE Network

A month ago, we reported the shocking rumor that the number of WWE Network subscribers may have declined since WrestleMania 30, which was previously thought impossible as subscribing to the service required a six-month commitment. The theory at the time was that people were going to the hassle of cancelling their credit or debit card in order to get their account deactivated before the six month period was up.

However, there seems to be another much simpler loophole that was revealed by David Bixenspan in this week's subscriber only Figure Four Weekly Newsletter. For those that pay using PayPal, stopping payment to WWE is just a few button clicks away, as he explained:

"It was eventually pointed out that anyone who pays via PayPal could try to de-authorize WWE Network as an authorized automated payee. In theory, since it wasn't designed for there to be any kind of commitment to X number of months (just like PayPal isn't designed to lock out non-US customers and opened up the network to workarounds), WWE would just deactivate your account and you'd be as good as cancelled. But nobody had tried it.

A friend of mine had gotten fed up with the stagnant content and tried it. It worked. Just like that, he got around the firewall that was supposed to make the "every PPV" plan viable. It's simple. He happened to cancel right before the new free trial and his account is working fine during the trial, so it's not like he's locked out in any way for non-payment."

With all the hard sales tactics on WWE programming and free promotions for the Network since the rumor came out, it seems highly unlikely that WWE will have the embarrassment of having to announce a drop in subscription figures when they report their second quarter financial results in two weeks time on July 31st, 2014, but this is still a problem they need to find a solution to, especially before WrestleMania season comes around again.

Another serious issue that a caller on Wrestling Observer Live revealed is that there seems to be limited safeguards in place to prevent one account being used by multiple different people in multiple different locations at the same time, even though this is a direct violation of the WWE Network's terms of service. The person in question claimed that he had shared his account log-in information with five of his friends and they were all able to separately stream the pay-per-views and watch together live. Clearly, WWE needs to be more stringent in enforcing this policy, as if this is a common practice, then it could be costing them a significant number of extra subscribers.

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