Hey Scott, I've been reading your comments and those of others for a while, and one of the main points you and many others have made is that the WWE has the diehard fans locked in no matter what, and their current number of subscribers is probably that group (or near enough). So, hindsight and all that, but couldn't the WWE have launched the Network WITHOUT the PPV's (maybe make them available months later) and probably done roughly the same amount of business, without cannibalizing their PPV revenue? I mean, logically they'd probably have ended up with somewhere around 500K buys instead of 775K (or whatever the actual number is), but they'd still be drawing better PPV numbers, they could do all of the crazy marketing and experimentation they've been doing to try and make it profitable, and once it worked and was a desirable product, THEN they could say "Oh and by the way NOW we're going to start showing all the PPV's live on the Network!"
Counterpoint: if they decided to stop showing the PPV's live on the Network, save for the NXT ones obviously, how bad for them would that be, do you think?
You know, I was fine with them ditching all the B-shows onto the Network, because who gives a shit about Battleground or TLC or whatever, but putting Wrestlemania on the Network was suicide. They could have had the best of both worlds, with 700K subscribers for the April-Dec PPV cycle, and then 600K buys for Rumble and 1M buys for WM and basically doubled their revenue for the year. Everyone would have still happily bought Rumble and Mania. Fuck, I basically stopped watching wrestling from 2006-2011 and I still bought the Rumble every year!
If they went back to PPV, it would go very, very badly for them and I think they know it. InDemand is already on the verge of dropping them and if they abandoned the Network now, you can bet the cable companies would suddenly demand 70 or 75% of the revenues to let them continue airing their PPVs because without the dish networks WWE basically has zero leverage now. WWE has deliberately scuttled their own PPV business and there's no going back now.