Last year, WWE generated $801 million in revenue, its highest revenue in company history and a 10% increase over 2016. The rise of the WWE is an incredible story, not least because the company is not afraid to embrace innovation. From moving away from their PPV (Pay-Per-View) model to a subscription model with WWE Network, the organization have won accolades as "Most Valuable Sports Brand" (Forbes) and a "Most Innovative Company (Fast Company)".
WWE now boasts #1 Youtube channel for sports, beating NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL; with 24 billion total views. The WWE Network is the #2 sports OTT streaming service trailing only to MLB.tv with average paid subscribers increasing by 10% to 1.8million in 2018.
The drive to continue this increase has this month seen WWE alongside NextVR, the leader in broadcasting live virtual reality (VR) events, mark a first by broadcasting action from SummerSlam live in virtual reality.
The NextVR app presented live 3D virtual reality broadcast on VR headsets, where the NextVR app is available, including Oculus, Google Daydream, HTC VIVE, Windows Mixed Reality and Playstation VR. Since WWE & NextVR announced their partnership earlier this year, fans have been able to watch short VR highlights, however this is the first live broadcast to give fans front-row service.
"We are always looking to create compelling content across platforms, and we are excited to partner with NextVR to bring our fans closer to the action than ever before," said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. "As the technology behind virtual reality continues to evolve, this is a unique opportunity for us to partner with NextVR, a leader in this space, to provide new experiences to our passionate fans around the world."
Through a deep understanding of their audience consumption habits, WWE have developed a content strategy consisting of linear TV, social networks (over 900million social followers), websites, apps and now Virtual Reality, which will continue to be the benchmark for other sports and entertainment brands.