Since WWE began presenting more than one PPV a year, Wrestlemania has always had a significantly larger audience than the other years. With that in mind, it seems logical that this trend would continue into the Network and that quarters with Wrestlemania will always see the largest churn rate in a single quarter. Is this quarter’s large churn rate a sign of trouble? We’ll have to wait and see in this quarter – how many will return for SummerSlam? And when they return are they paying?
Also, on the blog and some other wrestling commentators are seemingly putting the live event attendance being boosted by the additional network/PPV specials as a negative. This seems odd, as the Network has been presented as an opportunity to air more live events, among other programming. I’d be very interested in seeing them add more of their live events to the Network like MSG shows and international house shows (like the Japan special). Like a Saturday night at the matches without the LED ramp and PPV tv production. Maybe the business minds could also promote ticket sales for house shows with if it sells out, we’ll air it on the Network promotions. In the 1980s, when NFL games didn’t easily sell out, local businesses would buy the last 1000 tickets or so as a promotion because it would end the local TV blackout and they would get their name out there. Maybe the business minds in Stamford could offer sponsorship deals similarly.
Vince has always been weird about stuff like sponsorships, maybe because it might lead to people thinking that WWE can’t do everything on their own? I’m not sure exactly what the mindset is, but aside from the main sponsors for the PPVs, where "Starburst presents Royal Rumble!" or whatever, it’s not likely you’d ever get "Patio Warehouse presents WWE!" on the Network.
The thing with more live content seems to be a fine balancing act for them. They had a Network survey a couple of years back that indicated people would subscribe if they offered more live content, so they did so, and it cost so much that the Network was in the red last year. This year, they cut a lot of the original programming and live Network shows, and they ended up making a profit. But I’m with you — tape house shows on the tape, throw them up on the Network! That’s what a lot of people are after, not more PPVs.