Finally, there is some good news to report about WWE Network subscriptions.
According to Dave Meltzer on his latest Wrestling Observer Radio show, the Canadian roll-out of the WWE Network has been a huge success so far, already exceeding their expectations.
This is particularly noteworthy as WWE took a different approach with their network launch in Canada. Instead of providing it as an online channel like everywhere else, WWE has teamed up with Rogers Communications to distribute the Network as a premium cable television station.
Moreover, this success has come in spite of early criticism of the service due to the slightly higher price point and the limited video on demand (VOD) content. Instead of having access to the entire WWE pay-per-view library, Canadian subscribers currently only have 13 events to choose from. Nevertheless, the WWE Network is still a huge bargain to any Canadian fan that regularly bought WWE pay-per-views in the past.
It's also worth noting that only Rogers customers can get the WWE Network at present in Canada, so there's still the potential for huge growth when other cable and satellite providers pick up the service, as Rogers only has a 25% market share in the country.
This story suggests that the disappointing subscription numbers WWE reported in their second quarter financial report is partially due to a reluctance to embrace new technology. Although VOD market leader Netflix has 36 million subscribers in the U.S., that means only 40% of Americans use the service. Thus, WWE could potentially be costing themselves hundreds of thousands of subscriptions by only making the WWE Network available through WWE.com everywhere except Canada.
Given that this alternative strategy has found success in Canada, it's likely that WWE will at least consider using it in other countries, possibly to supplement an existing online roll-out.