– WWE’s Michael Weitz, George Barrios and Vince McMahon held a conference call to discuss the WWE Network this morning. You can download a PDF with WWE’s full Network overview at this link. Here are some highlights from the call:
* Vince thanked their investors for bearing with WWE over the years because it’s taken them time to get the formula for the Network right. Vince says through exhaustive research, they have came up with the right model, the right formula and at the right time.
* Vince says WWE is not advocates of anyone “cutting the cord”, apparently referring to pay-per-view and cable companies. Vince says they are offering an alternative to WWE fans. Vince says he was misquoted before but doesn’t elaborate.
* WWE is hoping to turn fans of the Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin eras into fans of the current product with the Network. They believe the Network will increase TV ratings. Vince says what’s good for WWE is good for everyone.
* George Barrios speaks next about some of the business aspects of the Network. Barrios mentioned sponsorship and marketing opportunities that the Network would bring. Most of what he said has already been covered over the past week.
* In the second quarter of 2014, they will focus on rolling out new content and the Network on other platforms. By the end of 2014, they hope to have more than 1 million subscribers and in late 2014 or early 2015 they plan to launch the Network in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Nordic countries.
* Vince says RAW is live and replaying their content on the Network won’t hurt their TV ratings and deals because of that. Vince says that live value means a lot. USA Network officials also believe the Network will increase their TV ratings.
* The one week free trial at launch will go along with some unique marketing ideas they have. The trial won’t run during a pay-per-view week.
* Vince is hopeful cable and pay-per-view providers will continue to provide WWE content as they have. Barrios didn’t want to speak on the recent statement from DirecTV but says WWE will work with these companies to continue as they have.
* In theory, a WWE fan could spend $60, get 6 months of pay-per-views including WrestleMania and then just cancel, only spending $60 and getting lots of content. WWE is confident they will keep subscriptions renewing. Barrios can’t believe once fans get a taste of the Network that they will back out.
* They are open to pre-paying annually for the Network at a discount. Fans will also be able to give Network subscriptions as a gift.