WWE Earnings Call: Now losing less than ever!

This is probably behind the paywall on the Observer site, but basically WWE managed to cut the losses down to 1.6 million due to massive cost-cutting that offset all the money they're wasting on movies and such.  TLC set the new bar for PPV at 39,000 worldwide buys, but Royal Rumble translated to about 270,000 new Network subscriptions, so that's clearly a success.  No indication of current subscribers, so it probably dropped below a million again.  Network will be expanding to all of Canada sometime in March.  
Only things of note in the questions was someone asking about NXT and Vince basically admitting that, yeah, they're throwing the hardcore nerds who subscribe to the Network a bone with it.  Also, someone asked about the Rumble reaction and Vince got all butt-hurt, likening it to fans getting upset that the babyface didn't win right away.  Even though, you know, the babyface DID win.  

How much is WWE actually losing?

Hey Scott,
So WWE pay-per-views went from $44.95 to $9.99. On the surface that looks like a huge drop and a lot of money lost. However, didn't WWE only see a small percentage of that $44.95 anyway? I seem to remember reading somewhere that inDemand got 50% of that right off the bat and then the cable/satellite company got a percentage of the remaining balance? Maybe they only ended up with $9.99 from that PPV buy? Any info on this?
​They made a large percentage on it, basically a 50/50 split with the cable companies.  They are losing a TON of money by killing off the PPV business model.  If they can get Network subscriptions up to the magic million mark it will level off the losses again, but there's a lot to be said for the way they blindsided cable companies with this whole thing and basically sabotaged any further relationships they might have if the Network doesn't work out.  And really, even just Wrestlemania and the Rumble staying on traditional PPV would probably put them well above break-even again next year and I bet no one would have had a problem buying those shows and getting the rest on the Network.  I think it was just a bad move all around to do it that way.  ​

Window into how much money the WWE Network is losing

"Barrios said that if WWE Network produces one million subscribers by the end of 2014, it would yield a 12-month average of 650,000 subscribers for the year. The rate of adoption translates to a 2014 net loss ranging from $45 to $52 million."

And that's if they hit 1 million by the end of the year. If they stay close to where they are now, they could lose like $75 million this year. 

​Yeah, that conference call was a bit of a fail, to say the least.  Sure, we're disappointed in the number we got, but if we miraculously get another 2 million subscribers, we'll be making record amounts of money!  Isn't that what got them into trouble in the first place?  
Also, the wrestlers have to feel good knowing that their pay can always be cut back further to prop up the Network.  ​

PPV losing streak record

> Hi Scott – long time, first time, yada, yada, yada. If my count is correct, Ryback has now been the loser in 8 straight PPV matches (including 4 title shots). Is that a record?
>   Wins and losses don't matter, they're telling stories.  Let it play out and see where it goes.

Fwd: WWE losing a ton of value

———- Forwarded message ———-
Thought this was an interesting article. Value of WWE has gone down by $500 million in the past 2 years. Think it's interesting how people still buy the WWE company line that they are still wildly successful. Although it's really an indication of the failure of non-wrestling projects than the PG era having a terrible effect.
http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Freefall-of-WWE-stock-costs-McMahons-500M-3743680.php —————– Yup.  That's why he's a millionaire who should be a billionaire.

Losing Streaks

Hi Scott,
I was wondering what your opinion on losing streak gimmicks are. A buddy of mine on another message board go back and forth on them and he doesn’t think they really harm guys that much while I think they’re a terrible way to get a guy over. He references Sheamus as a guy who got rebuilt after a losing streak gimmick while I’ve referenced guys like Matt Hardy and MVP as guys who a losing streak angle has hurt. Here’s our exchange.

Him–and, btw, I think you are wrong about the losing streak gimmick. Didn’t hurt sheamus last year and I don’t think it’s going to hurt miz this year. it only hurts if management perceives your character as a loser. I also think ziggler jobbed more than miz did these last 3 months.
Me–Ziggler is never portrayed as a loser though. They don’t mention that he loses all the time and they always talk about how Miz hasn’t done jackshit all year since Mania. When they make it the focus of your character, it hardly ever works. Most of the time a guy gets a losing streak gimmick, the writers play it up like they’re going to pay it off, they move onto a new guy and forgot about the losing streak guy and he’s stuck in jobberville. You can rehabilitate a guy’s character and rebuild him but it’s an uphill process. It’s a little easier nowadays to do so but there are still way more effective ways to get a guy over or build a storyline for him than having him lose week after week.

Was curious to see what your thoughts were. You can also throw this out as some fodder for the blog.

Well they sure didn’t build Undertaker into a giant star off a 20-0 losing streak gimmick at Wrestlemania, that’s for sure. Here’s the thing:  A losing streak can work as the buildup to a bigger payoff, IF the guy is someone who isn’t going to be hurt by it.  John Cena is already bulletproof and has been on top for years, so dropping four or five PPV main events in a row isn’t going to do much to hurt his drawing power.  Saying “a guy wasn’t hurt by it” is far from the same as “he was helped by it.”  Sheamus recovered from it because they pushed the FUCK out of him once they got bored of beating him, and because he’s BFFs with HHH and thus gets protected.  I agree with the “me” portion of the argument.  Miz has been destroyed and if it wasn’t for his gig with the Marine you’d think he was wrapping up his employment with the company.  He desperately needs two or three months off to change his look up, find a new twist on the gimmick, switch shows, whatever.  Honestly, if I was WWE I’d just buy ROH and use it as a feeder system, so that they could send their C-level “main eventers” somewhere to legitimately be perceived as main eventers and recover from losing streaks.  Like, can you imagine the ROH super-smarks losing their minds if Miz came in and challenged Davey Richards?  He would literally be the biggest heel in the history of the promotion instantly.  He would be everything that their fans HATE about wrestling, the fake pre-packaged media-friendly reality show star with a lame catchphrase, and it would instantly freshen up his character and give him some buzz again.  Anyway, I’m getting off topic here. Otherwise, losing streaks always fail.  As you noted, once you brand a guy as a loser, it’s incredibly difficult to rebrand him.  It’s not tough to rebrand the PERSON, but rebranding the character is frequently a lost cause.  It would be like if were trying to sell Spirit Squad Nicky as a future World champion – it’s a waste of time when it’s much easier to scrap the character and come up with “Dolph Ziggler” instead.  And Ziggler is getting close to being dead, because he lost so much and now he only wins after interference from Swagger.  You might as well just throw it all out and start from scratch again, he’s still young anyway.  He can always go to Japan and get tattoos on his face – that always works, right?