Following months of decline, WWE Network, the pro-wrestling subscription streaming video platform, saw paid subscriptions increase 6% in the second quarter (ended June 30) to finish the period with 1.69 million. It was the first quarterly video sub increase since the fourth quarter of 2018.
Spearheading a return to subscriber growth was the June 1 launch of an ad-supported free version of WWE Network that teased viewers with a portion of WWE’s content library to expand reach and engagement of its direct-to-consumer streaming service.
Indeed, pro wrestling has proved to be popular during the coronavirus pandemic, with digital video views increasing 10% to a record 9.9 billion views and hours consumed up 15% to a record 374 million hours across digital and social media platforms.
Overall, net income reached $43.8 million, from $10.4 million in the second quarter of 2019, primarily reflecting improved operating performance due to reduced costs associated with live events. Revenue decreased 17% to $223.4 million from $268.9 million in the prior year quarter primarily driven by decreased sales of tickets and merchandise that resulted from the cancellation, postponement and relocation of live events due to public health concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We continue to adapt our business to the changing environment, focusing on the development of new content for global distribution platforms and increasing audience engagement to drive growth and value for our shareholders,” CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement.