World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has new TV broadcast deals with Fox and Comcast, which couldn’t come at a better time for the showbiz promoter.
That’s because WWE’s forays into subscription-based over-the-top video to supplant waning packaged-media sales are flatlining.
The company’s flagship WWE Network averaged 1.51 million paid subscribers the third quarter (ended Sept.30), consistent with downward guidance through the first nine months of the fiscal year.
Average paid subs decreased 9% primarily driven by the impact of lower subscriber additions earlier in the year. For the fourth quarter, WWE projects average paid subscribers of approximately 1.43 million, representing a year-over-year decline of 10%.
Digital video views increased 12% on a year-over-year basis to 25.6 billion and hours consumed increased 14% to 957 million hours across digital and social platforms.
Media revenue increased to $146.1 million from $142.1 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the contractual escalation of core content rights fees, including license fees from the distribution of flagship programs “Raw” and “SmackDown,” as well as the timing and performance of WWE Studios’ portfolio releases.
That’s music to the ears of WWE founder/CEO Vince McMahon.
“With our flagship programming now spanning both broadcast and cable throughout the week in the U.S. and our expanding roster of international distribution partners, we remain excited about our ability to deepen the engagement with our fans around the world,” McMahon said.