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WWE NEWS: Why WWE thinks they can top last year's Mania PPV buys, executive addresses price increase

Apr 2, 2013 - 1:32:37 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

WM29NYNJ_20.jpg



WWE believes WrestleMania 29 will to top last year's WrestleMania PPV buys through a stronger social media push and more availability beyond traditional cable/satellite TV outlets.

Capturing this, WWE issued a press release Tuesday detailing a "social media activation" initiative that includes a WM29 press conference on Thursday, April 4 from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

WWE's chief marketing officer, Michelle Wilson, told Multichannel News that in addition to the social marketing push, WWE will blanket the New York/New Jersey market with outdoor advertising and get celebrities such as Hall of Fame inductee Donald Trump, NBC talk-show host Jimmy Fallon, Maria Menounos, and Coldplay's Chris Martin to push Mania on Twitter.

“We expect some 50 million to 60 million Twitter followers to be reached through celebrities talking about WrestleMania throughout the week,” said Wilson. “We’re really leveraging those celebrity social media platforms to talk about WWE and our WrestleMania event, which will reach many more viewers than just a traditional print ad.”

It's worth noting that Wilson acknowledged last year's Mania PPV buys were 1.2 million, which is the number WWE is looking to exceed this year, and not 1.3 million buys that WWE executive John Saboor gave to New Jersey media.

Wilson also talked about why WWE increased the PPV price-point to $59.95 (for standard definition), which is an increase of $5 from last year's event.

“This is our biggest PPV event, and when you look at other marquee events that are what price point they’re at,” she said, which is consistent with reports that WWE believes Mania is in-line with a major boxing PPV.

Asked if she thinks the price increase will turn away potential customers, Wilson said, “I think we’ll be fine. We believe the value is there in the attraction that we’ve built for WrestleMania."

She added a comment that is up for debate this year: "We’ve figured out year after year how to tell compelling stories that keep our fans engaged, and this year is no exception.”

Looking beyond the story that WWE is telling the media, the Star-Ledger in New Jersey interviewed a New York stock analyst who does not believe WM29 will top last year's PPV buys. The analyst, Bradley Safalow of PAA Research, also questioned the sales pitch to investors that there is "insatiable demand" for WWE's product.

"Some of the decline in pay-per-view is a function of ongoing trends in the media space. Some of it has to do with the company’s own creative arc in terms of relative popularity," said Safalow.

It's consistent with investors waiting to buy into WWE's business until the company actually launches a Network that has been teased for nearly three years.

[ LINKS: Wilson Interview here at Multichannel.com & Star-Ledger report here at NJ.com ]


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