UPDATE, 1:01 PM: People who want to subscribe to WWE Network should be able to do so now that the company’s technology partner, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, has worked through the launch-day crush. Demand for subscriptions “exceeded anything we have seen in 14 years of doing e-commerce,” MLBAM says.
PREVIOUS, 11:35 AM: The new $9.99-a-month online video network has been “unable to process most orders since 9 AM,” the WWE says. It attributes the launch-day woes to its technology partner Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM). It was “overwhelmed” by the demand for subscriptions and “has been working aggressively to resolve this issue.” WWE shares are down about 1.7% on a day when the overall market is up about 1%. It has a lot riding on the initiative. The company unveiled its online plans at the International CES electronics show in January. Expectations that the global Internet channel will be a hit with fans helped to drive a 46% increase in WWE’s market value so far in 2014, and recently hit record highs. CFO George Barrios told analysts last week that the network could attract as many as 3M subscribers and become a “major source of future earnings growth” with as much as $150M a year in cash flow. The company expects to serve the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordic countries by early 2015.