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TV Connect 2015: WWE reveals reason behind WWE Network

TV Connect, London

TV Connect, London

At TV Connect, London

Ed Wells, WWE’s SVP International and MD, used his Day 2 TV Connect keynote to emphasise the success of the sports entertainment company’s ground-breaking WWE Network OTT, and revealed that WWE considered the traditional exclusively pay-per-view (PPV) business model “non-sustainable” in the long term.

With 1.3 million WWE Networks subscribers worldwide registering a 90% satisfaction level, the success of the OTT is impossible to dispute, and Wells sought to stress the beneficial effects WWE Network was having on wider aspects of its global media empire, including its traditional PPV product.

This perspective, however, was questioned by Ovum analyst Ted Hall during the Q&A session following the keynote. Hall drew attention to the fact that, with DirecTV and DISH Network no longer carrying WWE pay-per-views, the OTT did appear to be a little more controversial than Wells made out.

“One thing you’ll hear us say is that we never met a cord that we don’t like, we’re happy to be connected, and as long as people continue to buy pay per view, we’re happy to be in that business,” Wells responded. “If you look at the UK we continue to be in the pay-per-view business with Sky very successfully. I think it’s about how those partners view that opportunity. But we saw that business as, in the long term, a non-sustainable business, and we needed to make the move, so we started the transition.

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