WWE has been quick to point to their "free trial" months as key to the growth of their over-the-top streaming Network service of late, and they will continue with what they call their "sampling strategy" in May - meaning that WWE's Payback pay-per-view (PPV) and NXT's next live event will both be available at no cost to new subscribers.
Free months have rankled some paying subscribers in the past, but WWE is not alone in pursuing this model. Netflix has a rolling "first month's free" promotion for all new customers signing up with new credit card information. In addition to hoping that the product itself convinces users to become paying customers, it's also true that a lot of people will neglect to cancel and pay for at least a month or two after signing up for free. Benefits of getting those folks on board are seen to outweigh the handful of viewers who will game the system by signing up repeatedly with new email addresses and credit card information.
Today's first quarter financial report discussed the strategy:
Based on the successful execution of the network's free trial offerings, the Company will continue its sampling program. All new subscribers who register for the network in May will receive the network for free in that month, including WWE Payback live on Sunday, May 17.
In addition to the promotional elements, the company again touted its new partnerships for creating fresh content on the service, such as the just premiered Jerry Springer series Too Hot For TV that was released this past Monday night (April 27, 2015). The new Diva Search was highlighted as a global "search of the most beautiful, athletic and charismatic women in the world to find the next stunning WWE Diva".
The latter ties into their plans for further international expansion, with India, China, Germany, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Malaysia listed as targets. Additional delivery platforms and feature development aimed at "improving the user experience and content discovery across devices" were also discussed.
Vince McMahon and George Barrios are holding the investor conference call as of this writing, and we'll have more from that this afternoon.
Thoughts on the free month plans, or any of WWE's Network expansion efforts, Cagesiders?