The stock price is down more than 20% in early trading after the company said that its new online video channel has 667,287 subs — not including “potential failures to comply with subscription terms.” Still, WWE Network is “well on its way to reaching its goal” of 1M subs by year end, the company says. Many investors expected better news after yesterday’s WrestleMania 30, which was offered both on cable and satellite pay-per-view and to subscribers who pay $9.99 a month for the streaming service. Benchmark Co analyst Mike Hickey warned on Friday that the subscription number might come in today between 500,000 and 800,000 — down from his original expectation for as much as 1M after the WrestleMania event. WWE’s stock price is still up about 40% since the beginning of 2014, but began to slip in late March, he noted, because “street expectations [for WWE Network subs] had exaggerated.” Although the network should reach the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordic countries by early 2015, the plans “would not immediately benefit from a massive entertainment event like WrestleMania in driving fan demand.”
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