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WWE releases new subscriber numbers for WWE Network, change price point again, offer November free to new subscribers

The WWE released its third-quarter earnings Thursday, and a lot of the focus surrounded the company's over-the-top channel, the WWE Network.

As its done multiple times this year, the WWE will be making more changes its streaming service.

The WWE announced that the WWE Network saw an increase of 31,000 subscribers during the third quarter, which brings the total number of paid subscribers to 731,000. The WWE hopes to reach 1 million by the end of the year.

According to Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal, the network posted a gross add of 286,000 subscribers, but lost about 250,000 in the same amount of time, creating the net gain of only 31,000.

To help reach that goal, the WWE announced in a press release and a YouTube video that it will offer the entire month of November free to new subscribers. The month of free service will include everything the network has to offer, including Survivor Series Nov. 23.

Of those 31,000 new subscribers, 28,000 of them came from overseas. Only 3,000 came from the United States. The WWE launched its network globally back Aug. 12.

The WWE also announced a new price point back on Aug. 12 where fans could subscribe to the network for $9.99 per month, but only with a six-month commitment. If fans did not want to commit for six months, the network cost $12.99 per month.

As of Thursday, that was going to change, as the WWE announced via an email to its subscribers that it is now offering the network for a flat rate of $9.99 per month with no commitment required.

"We are excited to offer new WWE Network subscribers, the month of November free to experience all of our live programming, explore thousands of hours of video-on-demand content, and watch 'Survivor Series,' one of our most popular events," Michelle Wilson, WWE chief revenue and marketing officer, said to Variety.com. "Our research combined with the best practices in digital subscription businesses affirms our belief that a simple, single price plan will help us continue to grow WWE network's subscriber base."

The WWE also reported that it posted a new loss of $5.9 million during the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. The company saw a profit of $2.4 million in the same quarter in 2013. However, revenue came in a $120.2 million, which was an increase of 6 percent.

Although revenue was higher, the WWE's pay-per-view business took a huge hit mostly due to the WWE Network. Pay-per-view revenue was down 56 percent during the third quarter. The three events combined to earn $3.7 million from 294,000 buys through cable and satellite providers.

The ratings for the WWE's main television shows, Raw and Smackdown, increased 2 and 3 percent respectively during the quarter.

WWE Films' revenue increased to $1.9 million, which was up from $1.8 million last year. According to Variety, the WWE's focus to more films "helped narrow losses to $400,000 during the quarter, compared to $7.4 million last year."

Licensing received a big boost in revenue thanks to the company's videogames. The company saw its licensing revenue increase to $10 million, which was up from $5.7 million last year.

"During the quarter, we delivered stronger financial performance than anticipated and surpassed our guidance while making significant progress on the execution of our WWE Network strategy," McMahon told Variety. "To capitalize on the substantial opportunity created by WWE Network, it's time to remove all the barriers to those that want WWE. We are excited to introduce a new simplified price plan at $9.99 per month, and like Netflix with no commitment to cancel anytime. This reflects our belief in the broad appeal of WWE Network content. Additionally, we continue to develop the international platform for WWE Network and plan to make the network available in the United Kingdom on an OTT [over-the-top] basis in November. WWE Network continues to be the single greatest opportunity to transform WWE's business model and we remain optimistic about our potential to drive long-term growth."

[h/t to Variety.com] [Video courtesy of WWE]