WWE announces job cuts after reporting $14m loss

Launch of WWE Network pushed the sports giant into the red

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The Independent Online

World Wrestling Entertainment has announced plans to cut 7 per cent of its workforce after posting a loss in the second quarter as it expands its online-subscription service WWE Network.

Overall, 50 to 60 employees across all business divisions are set to lose their jobs from a total headcount of 850 people.

The sports entertainment giant reported a net loss of $14.5 million, compared with a net profit of $5.2 million a year earlier, following the launch of the online video service in February.

So far, WWE has secured 700,000 subscribers and hopes to reach one million by next year, with international expansion planned in more than 170 countries including the UK, Spain, Mexico and Russia.

"It takes time for people to hear about it, so part of it is awareness," George Barrios, WWE's chief strategy and financial officer, told the Associated Press, adding that the network is still on track to hit the one million mark, although he did not set a timetable for it.

"Part of it is people getting comfortable with it being something they want to shift to. The pay-per-views were a behaviour we trained for 30 years and people don't change overnight. It's time and awareness."



WWE said 91 per cent of subscribers access the network at least once per week and use 2.5 devices to consume network content. WWE said 90 per cent of subscribers are satisfied with WWE Network, with 51 per cent extremely satisfied and 39 per cent somewhat satisfied.

The network, which launched set at $9.99 per month with a six-month commitment, will introduce new payment plans in August, including a $19.99 monthly plan (with no commitment) and an upfront one-time payment option for its existing $9.99 per month offering (with six month commitment).

WWE will add a resume play feature for video content in the next few months.

Additional reporting AP