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VINCE MCMAHON SAYS THEY TOOK STING OUT OF OBSCURITY TO MAKE HIM AN ATTRACTION: COMPLETE WWE NETWORK CONFERENCE CALL COVERAGE

By Mike Johnson on 2015-03-30 11:52:20

Hot off last night's Wrestlemania PPV, WWE held a special conference call this afternoon to discuss the latest WWE Network subscriber numbers and to promote a lot of the new programming that will be rolled out on the Network going forward.

WWE's Michael Weiss welcomed everyone to the conference call.  He said they are delighted they can follow Wrestlemania with today's call.

Vince said Wrestlemania was a huge success.  He said they nearly had 77.000 attendees at Wrestlemania and over 140 worldwide trends on Twitter. 

Vince said that the Network is now at 1.3 million subscribers and a big part of that was this year's Wrestlemania driving the numbers.

Vince described the new "Camp WWE" series as "Think South Park with WWE....with WWE Superstars as children....at camp."

The Johnny Knoxville "Swerved" series will be a practical jokes show with pranks pulled on WWE personalities.  That was a series concept they had teased doing for some time.

The new Diva Search series will be exclusive to the WWE Network.  Vince passed it over to George Barrios who began reading from a prepared statement.  Barrios said the series will "span the globe" to find the next Diva.

He said they will be adding another 1,000 hours of VOD material to the Network.

77% of the free subscribers in February turned into paid subscribers for March.

They are doing a promotion where if you sign up for the Network in April, you will get April for free and not be charged until May.

Their long-term goal is to get to 3-4 million subscribers.

After Barrios ended his prepared statement, they then opened the line for questions.

The first caller said they loved the Ronda Rousey involvement at Wrestlemania.   She noted there were more mainstream talents involved now and asked whether that meant more investment into the programming.  McMahon said the budgets are the same but they were way ahead of the curve with the Over the Top Network and that helps making them more viable for celebrities.  There was a lot of pushing the idea that they were the first to do the OTT deal and now others, including CBS and Nickelodeon, etc. are launching similar services.

The caller also asked if the PPV numbers were included in the subscription numbers.  Uh, no!  How the two different revenue streams can be confused is amazing to me.

They were then asked about the churn rate and whether the amount of subscribers with the churn is actually just getting them the same or less amount of money.  Barrios broke down why they priced the Network at it's price to give a better value for the subscribers and that they wanted to build a long-term audience for it.

They were asked how many of the November free promotion subscribers were still paid subscribers.  Barrios said they haven't been public with that number.

They were asked if there was a number in mind for a number of original programming for the year as well as a potential budgeting increase.  Barrios said they feel good about the new series and they will "live and learn a little bit" as they go forward and will make changes as they go.

They were asked about rolling out internationally in places they aren't in and what their plans are in terms of approaching those markets.  Barrios talked about China and India becoming very important markets for the Network. 

Regarding the new programming, they were asked if they were considering multiple price points.  Barrios said that they could look into that down the line but right now they are happy with the "dynamic" $9.99 price.

They were asked about the Tapout deal.  Barrios said those discussions actually started three years ago.  They are excited about it and feel there is a place in the market for that sort of fitness wear.  They will be promoting it across WWE programming as they are closer to roll out.

They did not give any international subscription numbers but will with their regular quarterly numbers.

They were asked about PPV data for Wrestlemania but it's too soon right now for them to have those numbers.

They declined to get into numbers for budgets are broken down into different areas.

They were asked about the complaints of the lackluster build to Wrestlemania and how creative has always been a driving force for the company.  Vince said it's all about content and that social media are "lots of grains of sands" and the company will have it's doubters.  He said the drive to Wrestlemania was more of a last minute drive but that's how they do things sometimes and sometimes they are more ahead of the curve to promote the events.  He said Wrestlemania tops itself every year.

They were asked how the streaming was last night for the Wrestlemania PPV.  Barrios said it was rock solid and their performance has been rock solid since launching.

The Facebook integration last night was very successful.

They were asked if the new programming was targeted for specific demographics.  Vince said they gear to Males 18-34 to start but they will have programming from across the board.  He said that's what some of the new programming initiatives are about.

A caller claimed they used feedback from the Sting VOD to bring him into the company how often they use their data to target what they are going to do.  Vince said that wasn't the only reason they brought Sting in and put over the marketing power of the company, saying they were able to take someone from "obscurity" and make him a major attraction within WWE.  Wow, I don't know if Vince was referring to TNA or Sting himself, but "obscurity"...that's rough.

 

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