Satellite broadcaster DirecTV is far from thrilled with WWE’s plans to launch an online network and has said it will need to rethink its relationship with the programmer and whether it will continue to carry its pay-per-view specials.
As part of WWE’s online network, which launches next month, its 12 pay-per-view specials, including the hugely popular “Wrestlemania”, will be made available to subscribers for $ 9.99 per month. .
Traditional pay-TV distributors, including DirecTV, have relied on WWE’s pay-per-view specials for years as a solid source of revenue. Typically, distributors and WWE split the cost to consumers 50-50, and the price for specials a la carte ranges from $ 55 to $ 70.
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While WWE has said it will always make its pay-per-view events available to cable and satellite operators for sale, their availability on the new platform as well is likely to reduce purchase rates. This has DirecTV ready to sever ties.
“It is clear that we need to quickly reassess the economics and viability of their business with us, as it now appears WWE feels they don’t need their PPV distributors,” DirecTV said in a statement, adding that the audience for its events “has been steadily declining, and this new competitive offer at a low price will only accelerate this trend.
DirecTV is the first multichannel video program distributor to issue an official response to WWE’s over-the-top network.
In an interview on Wednesday, the president of WWE Corp. Vince McMahon said he believes it is in the best interests of pay-TV operators to continue to broadcast pay-per-view events.
“I think it would be foolish for them not to want to offer pay-per-view anymore,” McMahon said. “We found them money.
A WWE spokesperson said in response to DirecTV’s statement that “on the contrary, WWE hopes to continue doing business with our pay-per-view distributors, ultimately giving our fans the choice between the two offers.”
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