Media outlet speculates Raw and Smackdown Live could become online only shows

Jul 28, 2017 - by Steve Gerweck

Raw & SmackDown to Become Online Only?

Chuck Carroll of CBS Chicago broke down the numbers of where the WWE currently resides from a revenue standpoint. Carroll states that while it can be argued that more people are watching now than ever due to various social media platforms, television viewership is substantially continuing to drop. As a result, WWE may be looking into solely focusing on their product being presented online.

Here is an excerpt.

“There is no panic at the company headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. This is a trend that executives saw coming years ago and have been working feverishly to keep pace with. The videos posted on WWE’s digital platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, were viewed more than 9.1 billion times during the first six months of the year — an increase of nearly 20 percent from the same time last year. Likewise, WWE’s social media channels continue to explode and now have 800 million followers.

And then there is the company’s own over-the-top digital channel. The WWE Network averaged more than 1.6 million paid subscribers during the second quarter of the year, which is an 8 percent year-over-year increase. Total subscriptions, including first-timers receiving a free trial period, nearly topped 2 million around WrestleMania in April. However, only a small fraction transitioned to paid subscribers once the trial period expired.

What that glut of numbers translates to is the future. In roughly two years, WWE’s current television rights deal expires, and the company may find itself at a crossroads. Will they re-up and remain on the USA Network? Will they shop around for other television suitors willing to pay a higher rights fee? Or will WWE themselves cut the cord? Planning to eventually do the latter has been in the works for more than six years.

Make no mistake about it, television rights fees are WWE’s bread and butter, and generate more income than any other division in the company. It’s not even close. The company’s second quarter earnings show television is responsible for $60.1 million in income, compared to $13.9 from the WWE Network. The content posted to social media and YouTube generated less than $1 million. But here’s where it gets interesting. Although the new revenue streams pale in comparison to television, they are growing at an exponentially faster rate. Network revenue is up 85 percent year-over-year while digital media is up 1,300 percent. However, digital media growth must also be taken with a grain of salt, given its small numbers and negative income in 2016. Regardless, it points toward the future of media consumption.”

source: THE SpOTLight

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