SBD/August 1, 2014/Media

WWE Announces Intentions To Cut 7% Of Workforce; OTT Network Subs Pass 700,000

WWE on Thusday announced that it will cut 7% of its workforce as “part of a push to increase profitability,” according to Brian Dowling of the HARTFORD COURANT. The job reductions would “affect roughly 53 of the 762 positions the company said it had in February” (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/1). Also on Thursday, WWE announced as part of its Q2 earnings that its subscriber total for its over-the-top digital venture WWE Network has reached 700,000 subscribers. The total represents a minimal increase from the 667,287 subscribers WWE disclosed in early April, just six weeks into the service's availability. The most recent quarter also included a heavy amount of subscriber churn as it gained a gross addition of 161,000 subscribers, but ended the period with only the net add of less than 33,000 subscribers. As part of the earnings report, WWE also announced a series of changes to WWE Network including new int'l availability to more than 170 countries and territories beginning next month. There is a new 10-year deal with Rogers Communications in Canada that will see the network offered as a traditional a la carte pay TV channel and a new pricing plan that includes a $19.99 per month plan with no minimum commitment. The original offer of $9.99 per month with a minimum six-month commitment remains in effect. "We think that (700,000 subscriber level) is a very strong base to build from," said WWE Chair & CEO Vince McMahon. At presstime, WWE stock was trading at $12.39 per share, down 0.7% from the close of business on Thursday, and still well below a peak of more than $31 hit in March (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
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