WWE Network will be free in May for new subscribers.
WWE?s latest Quarter One results revealed that WrestleMania 31 did a 259,000 pay per view buyrate. Furthermore, the company announced plans for another free WWE Network month for new subscribers in May. That means WWE?s Payback show for free if you sign up to a new account.
The buyrate for Mania is interesting. Over a quarter of a million people opted to watch on pay per view, rather than the much cheaper WWE Network streaming. That could be down to several factors. Not everyone enjoys good internet access and some people don?t like the idea of signing up for a subscription service.
There?s also the casual interest factor. Many people only bother with WWE for WrestleMania. These people perhaps thought that pay per view was the easiest option.
Then there?s the WWE Network subscribers who also bought on pay per view, because they were worried that the Network stream would falter. The stream did indeed falter to an extent, but nothing major.
WWE can see the pay per view number in several ways. It could be that they see it as more potential viewers to convert. They could also view it as a record number of WrestleMania viewers, when you combine it with the 1.3 million subscribers of the Network. The 259k number is actually surprising high when you consider that the logical viewing choice was the Network. In contrast, Royal Rumble did 145k buys and Fastlane did 46k.
The decision to do another free Network month is a sign of desperation. It is getting to the point that it is rather silly. If fans weren?t going to sign up for free for WrestleMania, they?re sure as hell not going to sign up for free for Payback.
The free month is also reportedly open to abuse, with several former subscribers claiming to be able to get the free month.
Business isn?t bad but it is far from the steady ship that WWE once was, with the Network still struggling to justify its investment.