DirecTV May End Relationship With WWE Following Launch Of Online Network
DirecTV is "less than thrilled with the WWE's plans to launch an online network and said it will have to rethink its relationship with the programmer and whether it will continue to offer its pay-per-view specials," according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. Traditional pay-TV distributors "have for years counted on WWE's pay-per-view specials as a solid revenue source." Distributors and WWE typically "split the cost to consumers 50-50." While WWE has said that it will still make its PPV events available to cable and satellite operators for sale, "having them also available on the new platform is likely to cut into buy rates." DirecTV in a statement said, "Clearly we need to quickly re-evaluate the economics and viability of their business with us, as it now appears the WWE feels they do not need their PPV distributors." Flint notes DirecTV is the "first multichannel video program distributor to issue an official response to the WWE's over-the-top network." WWE Chair & CEO Vince McMahon said, "It’d be foolish for them not to want to carry the pay-per-view anymore. It’s found money for them" (L.A. TIMES, 1/10).