Talk about good timing.
There's no word on whether or not the numbers that WWE released today are from before Sunday, January 25th's Royal Rumble event and the fan reaction that made #CancelWWENetwork a trend on Twitter for almost 24 hours. But the announcement two days after that consumer, public and investor relations mess that one of the over-the-top service's initial goals has been achieved is certainly no coincidence.
Variety reports the Stamford, Connecticut-based company informed them they have exceeded one million subscribers in only eleven months since launching the Network. The last reported figure was 731,000 at the end of the third quarter in October of 2014. Since then, expansion into additional countries (including the United Kingdom, WWE's second largest market), the removal of a six-month minimum commitment and a free trial for new U.S. customers during the month of November all contributed to 37% growth.
WWE says that 24% of that came from the United States.
At launch, the company believed they could reach one million subscribers by the end of the calendar year, and this puts them very close to having hit that target (dates were not announced, so it's unclear if the one millionth subscriber signed up before or after December 31, 2014).
Chairman Vince McMahon was quoted as saying:
We're thrilled that we've surpassed the 1 million subscriber milestone less than a year after launching WWE Network and in advance of ‘WrestleMania,' our biggest event of the year on March 29. We remain focused on delivering an outstanding value proposition for our fans by adding new content and new features in the coming year.
Full fourth quarter and 2014 results will be announced on February 12th. Those will still not include the fallout from the Royal Rumble backlash that was reported on by wrestling and mainstream media outlets throughout the day yesterday. Whatever impact is seen from #CancelWWENetwork wouldn't be included until the next reporting date in May - numbers that will also include WrestleMania 31, an event that will undoubtedly mask at least some of the damage done in late January.
What do you make of this, Cagesiders? Can investors expect growth to continue, or will there be real fallout from the events in Philadelphia?