During the conference call with investors yesterday, WWE Co-President George Barrios said that they will not be revealing the WWE Network subscribers number the day after WrestleMania, something which has been a tradition ever since the service went live in 2014.
Barrios said that “given the success of the WWE Network, we no longer believe such a call provides useful information to investors.” He also brought up the fact that there’s a short period between WrestleMania and their first quarter earnings call of 2019 where they will give that information so they don’t plan to do the post-WrestleMania press release and conference call anymore.
WWE Network subscribers shoot up during WrestleMania season, many of which are free subscriptions as WWE continues to give out their most valuable event of the year for free in hopes that subscribers stick around for the following month. Unfortunately, many subscribers on free accounts cancel their subscription so the difference between post-WrestleMania day numbers and the numbers in the next conference call is huge, which doesn’t look good at all. For last year’s WrestleMania, the WWE Network had around 2 million subscribers and now the service has around 400,000 less subscriptions.
Barrios also went into a little detail of what the next update to the WWE Network will look like. He said that they know they can do better in terms of usability and functionality and they can do that in three ways.
Barrios thinks one of the ways is to integrate free video into the service as many other platforms do. Adding free video will require fans to subscribe anyway but have to provide payment details if they want to see content behind a paywall. Option two is to connect across any of their digital businesses so you get a one-stop shop rather different locations where to watch content. And the third is localization. While English is common pretty much anywhere in the world, Barrios thinks that there’s an opportunity to go deeper in some local markets.
“So that won’t all happen at once. You’ll start seeing it, rollout sometime this year and it will come in phases. But that’s really what the next iteration. And we were really excited to share with folks here in the near future,” Barrios said.