First a confession.
Growing up I was obsessed with professional wrestling. Seriously.
Back then, in the early 1980s, there was only one wrestling show on TV per week. It was Saturday morning and I used to set my VCR to record every episode (yes, this was years before DVR).
After all, how could I miss “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka or Sgt. Slaughter battling it out in the squared circle? Or Junkyard Dog? Or Bob Backlund?
I even used to attend live matches at Madison Square Garden with my dad.
But I took my love of wrestling a step further…. my Bar Mitzvah “theme” was professional wrestling. It was called “Ryan’s Main Event”. I’m 100% serious. It was November 2, 1985.. and it was a glorious night.
Oh yeah, it’s safe to say I was a super fan.
So when the news came in yesterday the World Wrestling Entertainment’s subscription program, called WWE Network, has only 700,000 paid subscribers I had to take a deeper look at what the heck is going on.
Yes, 700,000 paid subscribers does sound like a large number, however they are still 300,000 under their goal. In fact, because of the major shortfall, they might have to layoff 7% of their total staff.
The WWE didn’t ask me to do this. But after giving me so many years of happiness as a kid, and because I’d like to help them save jobs, here are my top four strategies to boost the revenue of the WWE Network….
STRATEGY #1: MORE NON-WRESTLING CONTENT
The WWE has positioned this as a “network”, and I get it. They are focusing on wrestling shows, pay-per-view specials, and archived episodes.
However, I think it’s a mistake. When it’s positioned purely as a “content” network, there’s really nothing special about joining. There’s no huge burning desire to belong.
The WWE is not just shows. It’s not HBO. It’s an experience. It’s the personalities. It’s the back stories.
If I were running the WWE Network, I’d position more as a “membership” or a “club”. People want to belong.. not just watch more shows and events.
Give member’s a sense of belonging or community.
At MINIMUM… you could easily add a LIVE Q/A with some of the professional wrestlers every two weeks. Or a members-only newsletter.
Everything about the network feels passive. Like I’m just sitting back and watching.
As an 11-year old boy, I would have lost my mind if I could have asked Andre the Giant a question in real time.
Even a “virtual membership card” could go miles in making me feel like I belong.
Which brings me to strategy #2…
STRATEGY #2: BETTER DESCRIPTION OF MEMBER BENEFITS
Besides a listing of the shows – it’s hard to tell what else I’m receiving with a paid membership.
There’s a short video telling me about all the shows… but they gloss over it quickly. I’d like to see a full listing of those shows and specials.
And if you are going to position it as purely a discounted “content” play – then at minimum, you should create a comparison chart showing me how much I will save by joining.
For example, if it normally costs $50 to watch Wrestlemania on pay-per-view, show me all the PPV events for the year and how much it would cost. Maybe that is $400+ if I paid separately. Now, the $9.95 per month is looking like a much better deal.
Throw in some other members-only benefits and I’m sold.
Right now – there’s just not enough information about what I’m getting. And even though people are familiar with the WWE, you should never take for granted what people understand to be the benefits of joining your program.
Plus, the words you choose to describe your offer are powerful. VERY powerful.
Take a look at the two CTAs (call to action) they use.
*I WANT TO BUY NOW
It feels very “transactional”. I don’t want to just “buy” videos – I want to BELONG.
Some better word choices could have been…
*YES, I’D LOVE TO BECOME A MEMBER
*BECOME A MEMBER TODAY
*YES, I’M READY TO JOIN THE CLUB
It should be positioned more as a “Membership Club” rather than just purchasing access to more shows/content.
STRATEGY #3: ELIMINATE COMMITMENT
The only plan offered is $9.95 per month.. but with a 6-month commitment.
I understand the value of locking people into a contract from a financial perspective. That’s what Wall Street and the shareholders want to see. It looks great on a spreadsheet. And it’s how large phone companies like ATT make their money.
But, it’s not the right thing from a CUSTOMER perspective.
I don’t want to be “locked-in”.. do you? We know why the WWE is making us to commit to six months. We know there ONLY benefit for having us commit to six months is to make your company more money.
Because there’s zero financial incentive to commit to six months. I have no choice. I’m either in for at least six months or I don’t join.
Give me an option. Give me a choice to cancel if it’s not right for me.
It’s what your customers want. And it’s the right thing to do.
STRATEGY #4: ADD LEVELS
As I said, right now there is only one level of membership.
Based on my experience, anywhere from 7-10% of your subscribers would JUMP at the chance for a premium level of membership.
At the current number, if 10% of the 700,000 subscribers (70,000) joined a VIP membership at $29.95 per month (approx. $20 more than the current $10 per month plan(.. that’s an ADDITIONAL $1.4 million PER MONTH in gross revenue. That could mean the difference between keeping those extra employees and firing them.
Here are some ideas for VIP membership that would justify a higher price of $29.95+ per month
- Exclusive “Meet and Greet” with professional wrestlers before an event
- Members-only T-shirt and cards
- Group tour of WWE HQ in Stamford, CT
- Live Q/A sessions with wrestlers every month
- Welcome phone call from a WWE superstar
I didn’t even touch on retention. Since I’m not a member of the WWE Network, I’d have to join to dig in and see how they can enhance the user experience. This was all on the front-end.
A lot of jobs are on the line… I hope the WWE takes a look at this post and, at least, considers some of the strategies.
And, at minimum, maybe there is an idea or two you can gleam from this as well.
P.S. The WWE headquarters is in Stamford, CT.. which is about 10 minutes from my house. If Vince McMahon is reading this, I’d be happy to come by HQ and share my strategies with your team. It’s my way of giving back for the years of enjoyment you gave me when I was a kid!
P.P.S. If you are interested in learning how to create your own subscription programs, click here.