Speaking at the 2017 Needham Emerging Technology Conference in New York earlier today, WWE’s Chief Strategy & Financial Officer George A. Barrios hinted that the free WrestleMania WWE Network promotion will continue for years to come.
Barrios said that if the promotion didn’t leave good results, they would not do it, justifying the company’s dangerous leap to offer its biggest pay-per-view of the year for free to new subscribers for the past two years.
This year, there were 361,000 people who took WWE’s offer to watch WrestleMania for free, 288,000 of which were domestic subscribers and the rest were international. The day after WrestleMania 33, WWE announced 1.95 million subscribers to their over-the-top service, a 7% increase from the number revealed the day after WrestleMania 32 last year.
The big problem however is that typically, the service experiences the biggest churn during the second quarter of the year because the majority of those who opted to take the free offer for WrestleMania eventually don’t renew the service, so WWE gets zero revenue from these subscribers at the end of the day.
Before WrestleMania 33 numbers were factored in, the WWE Network had a total of 1.69 million subscribers at the end of Q1 2017, with 1.57 million of those paying for the service and the rest on a free trial. Numbers for Q2 2017 will paint a better picture on how much subscribers WWE retained from the post-WrestleMania 1.95 million number.