Investors thought they’d see this milestone earlier, but they appear grateful at its indication that the slow-growing service hasn’t stalled. WWE shares rocketed 15% in afternoon trading after it announced that its subscription streaming service signed its 1 millionth customer. That’s up 37% globally and 24% domestically from the end of Q3. “We remain focused on delivering an outstanding value proposition for our fans by adding new content and new features in the coming year,” CEO Vince McMahon says.
The announcement comes at a difficult time for WWE. It has lost 46% of its market value during the past 12 months as it became clear that the $9.99-a-month online service was cannibalizing revenues from the company’s popular pay-per-view broadcasts. The company said last May that it would need at least 1.4 million subscribers for the initiative to pay off.
That goal appeared to be in jeopardy on Sunday when many fans were disappointed with the Roman Reigns’ victory in WWE’s annual Royal Rumble event. #CancelWWENetwork briefly became the top-trending topic on Twitter as word spread that WWE Network’s cancellation page had crashed. WWE says today that the event and the launch of WWE Network in the UK helped to drive the recent subscription growth.
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