When the WWE first announced that it would be bringing all of its content to a single streaming service, just about everyone assumed that it would be an instant hit. Decades worth of pay-per-views and behind-the-scenes footage that weren't available anywhere else would suddenly be seen by everyone, and the fact that it only cost $9.99 a month was even better. After all, why would you want to pay $60 for Wrestlemania when you can just pay $9.99?
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case: the WWE Network struggled for months to find a real userbase, and nothing the WWE tried seemed to work - troubled international releases certainly didn't help. The WWE Network is a pretty sweet deal, it's just that people weren't latching on.
Progress may be slow, but it's still progress: many thought that the WWE Network was floundering, but it's actually quite the opposite. Yesterday, WWE announced that the Network now has over one million subscribers.
"WWE Network has surpassed 1 million subscribers just 11 months after launch, making it the fastest-growing digital subscription service. These results represent a 37 percent increase (24 percent domestically) in subscribers since last reported at the end of third quarter 2014, driven primarily by a successful free November promotion, the launch of the service in the UK and significant additions for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event."
It's great news for the WWE because the company has been dealing with financial troubles for some time now. And the fact that the Network - WWE's solution to said money troubles - was struggling didn't help matters at all. While the WWE isn't out of the water yet (the Network did have a relatively poor launch, and the company's still feeling it), it is a major step forward for the streaming service.
One thing that's interesting to see is the last sentence in the WWE's statement: "...and significant additions for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event." That makes sense on a basic level, as people obviously wanted to see the Royal Rumble. What's hilarious is that these numbers were released after the #CancelWWENetwork 'controversy,' in which fans called for the Network's discontinuation following Roman Reigns' victory in the main event.
Looks like the social media campaign wasn't quite as successful as its creators had hoped.
As it stands, the WWE Network seems to be recovering. Maybe it just needed some time to find a fanbase, maybe it just needed some better press - either way, this could be the turning point for WWE's streaming service. Whether or not said success continues throughout Wrestlemania is anyone's guess.
Still, there's no harm in celebrating!