Key Details Missed in Meltzer, Alvarez Coverage of WWE Earnings

Embarrassing lack of preparation taints Wrestling Observer coverage of WWE Q2 earnings call

During their breaking news audio discussing WWE business for the second quarter late Thursday morning, Dave Meltzer brought up different pricing options being considered for the Network. One of them was the possibility of giving a price break for customers who subscribe for a full year.

Alvarez quickly scoffed at this, saying that it wouldn’t matter to the business because people could just cancel their credit cards as they did during the initial subscription model (where the Network subscription was billed as $9.99 with a 6 month commitment).

Meltzer agreed, saying that might be true.

The problem here is in the language, and not understanding the nuance of how the different models work.

Under consideration is a price break for a year-long SUBSCRIPTION to the Network, not a year-long commitment.

Under the latter, the cost would be billed monthly over the terms of the commitment, which is what Alvarez and Meltzer must have mistakenly thought.

But with the terms of a yearlong subscription, the cost would be billed up front, in a full year sum. It’s thought that they could charge offer long-term subscribers a savings of around $20 by charging between $7.99 and $8.99 per month, whereas someone paying month-to-month at $9.99 would end up spending just shy of $120 per year on the Network.

The really bizarre part about this mix up is that this is precisely the pricing model utilized by F4Wonline, where you get a price break if you sign up, and pay, for a full year’s subscription up front.

Buried about a quarter of the way down today’s Daily Update on F4Wonline, Dave Meltzer issued a correction, writing:

A note on today’s audio when talking about a one-year WWE Network subscription, there wont’ be a problem with people canceling because a one-year discounted subscription would all be billed up front as opposed to being billed monthly.

Also of note is how, a short way through their podcast covering the earnings, Meltzer admitted he hadn’t even listened to the call George Barrios and Vince McMahon had with analysts this morning.

While there is probably no material difference in using the written release information to form the basis of your “breaking news audio covering WWE’s quarterly earnings report and call…” a subscriber to the site might have a reasonable expectation that the principles of the premium site hosting the podcast might have listened as a prerequisite of offering the content.

We here at Sheet Sandwich are confident that by the time the Wrestling Observer Newsletter comes out in approximately one week, Meltzer will have listened to an archived version of the call to give us a complete, albeit less timely, 360 degree overview of the earnings report and call.

Interestingly, as I listened to the call, and followed along with some of the live coverage on other websites (like Jason Powell of as well as on twitter, I noted how Barrios was dodging questions related to month-to-month trends as well as conversion of those taking advantage of the free trial month being retained as paying subscribers. That information would not be found in the earnings report, as it only happened on the call.

Looking forward to reading Dave’s analysis of that in a week.

Later Thursday afternoon Bryan Alvarez on the opening segment of his Wrestling Observer Live radio show seemed highly confused as to what a “quarterly earnings report” actually pertained to, when he told the listeners of the most widely listened to pro wrestling radio show in the world that the 1.156 million subscriber number, while not exactly the number as of today “might have been a week ago, or something like that.”

End of June, Bryan… End of June.

Again, oddly enough, the correct information was to be found on his own website, where written report of the quarterly “busines news” (as the article is headlined) reads:

The key number is the network itself, which on June 30, 2015, had 939,000 subscribers in the U.S., 217,000 subscribers outside the U.S., and at that point had 71,000 people taking advantage of free month subscriptions. The total subscriber number was 1,156,000, down from 1,327,000 at the end of the prior quarter.

PW Torch’s James Caldwell offered a recap of the call, along with actual quotes from Barrios and Vince McMahon.

While a thorough written report appears on their site, key "busines" details were flubbed in F4W audio coverage of WWE earnings
While a thorough written report appears on their site, key “busines” details were flubbed in F4W audio coverage of WWE earnings

Mike Johnson from PWInsider also had live coverage of the earnings call as well which you can read here.

Chris Harrington, our guest previewing today’s WWE earnings report and call on Talking Sheet earlier this week, who is one of the foremost analytics experts in the pro wrestling industry was live tweeting during the call, which you can read through on his twitter here.

An entire transcript of the call can be read here at


  1. It feels like Bryan (and Vinny for that matter) isn’t even paying attention anymore. Meltzer felt like that a couple years ago and seems to be slipping back into that recently. I really wish WO/F4w or whatever they call it would concentrate on pro wrestling and forget the MMA coverage. It doesn’t legitimize them, it simply takes away from their pro wrestling coverage, which they tout as best in the world. While I suppose you could argue it *IS*, it could be 10x better…I mean Voices of Wrestling c’mon!

  2. To many misstakes at the main 3 pay wrestling insider sites.

    We have Wade Keller ranting how great Dean Ambrose “non scripted promos” are. Wade mentioned this in multiple audio updates.
    Well. Dean was asked this question on Jerichos podcast. All Deans promos are scripted.

    Wade rants about how retarded/how Ziggler does not “get it” when Ziggler talks about entertainment in his promos. For over 6 months Wade have ranted about this. Zigglers promos are scripted. We all know performers can’t do what they want anymore. (all the leaked RAW scripts with word for word promos)

    The Hogan “racist tapes”. No one simply ask this question: Did Hogan do anything illegal.
    No? Ok. Thats it. That is why we have laws.
    Suddenly the “free” America its ok to fire people who thinks wrong. Not a single wrestling pay site have pointed this out and how dangerous it is.
    I know. I live in another western PC country where we are maybe 5 years ahead of USA. In Sweden journalist started to flee in 2014 after you can be locked in for “thinking wrong”.
    If I use the Nword/say something wrong in Sweden and face a trial: They do a “criminal mentally ill” test. This means you can be locked up for life without any trial or chance of a trial just because you think “wrong”.
    Its scary how brainwashed western countries are.

    I dont defend Hogan, just point out the fact that he did nothing illegal and have lost millions on it only because political correctness thinks its wrong. I even could point out this racist fact: If Hogan was black and used the Nword = it ok. Strange?

    Listen to any Howard Stern show and he calls us non jewish Goyish. That is an accepted Nword.

    Add to that Mike Johnsson on PWInsider who have been out to lunch since he was demoted to half time employee.
    Today 31 july he answers a question about Daniel Bryan and why he is not cleared. “WWE is afraid to clear Daniel because of multiple injuries in short time”. Mike misses the point 100%. The problem is that Bryan had a concussion and continued to wrestle for at least a week after it. Its a smoking gun against WWE and their iMPACT testing.

    And Dave Scherer. F-him. He only rants about how stupid TNA are. How retarded they are that Hernandez wrestled without a contract. How the F can Rampage fight in UFC with a Bellator contract? Because there have not been a court ruling in that case. Who says Hernandez could not have done the same thing if TNA went to court especially since the 7 year Lucha deal is dead since Underground S2 is a no-go.

    Fsck Torch… race race race race.. Every f-ing show for 2 weeks.
    Use the N word = devil.

    FSCK pussies everyvere. Words are not dangerous. Words does not hurt. If someone is offended by a word: Its the person who is offended who is the problem not the offender. Its a sick society where saying words force people to loose everything / longer jail times than murderers, rapists and so in.
    Oh.. But Political correctness teach us: people who commit crime do that because of social interactions. Its never the criminals faults. Its always society.

    Had Hogan robbed a bank = Ok. He would have been brought back like Ken Patera.
    But saying a N word = Kill Hogan.

    Western countries are sick. (and I know. I have moved to a country that is a military dictatorship and have found out: Its MUCH MORE FREE)

  3. I was baffled by the one year thing too. I knew that WWE couldn’t be that dumb when people were canceling before the 6 month commitment was up.

  4. Why don’t these sites get Chris Harrington on to talk about the numbers? His analysis is so much better than the rest.

  5. I have a theory about F4W/WON. One major complaint for years has been the coverage of MMA overwhelming that of pro-wrestling. From Dave finding any reason to shift the conversation from wrestling to MMA, to Dave being “too busy” to attend WrestleMania (except when it’s basically in his backyard) and yet isn’t too busy to attend Fight Week, etc.

    Well, perhaps his sources in the wrestling world feel the same anger about this – when was the last time Dave truly broke news about wrestling? The Impact cancellation news came from Destination America, so wouldn’t have come from his wrestling sources. In fact anything that would’ve come from the wrestling side has been wrong lately – such as Kong leaving TNA, etc.

    Plus he and Alvarez keep pulling this “big news soon!” BS – still waiting on that big WWE-ROH news that was supposed to break within days…weeks ago. And then there’s sloppiness like this article covers. And Dave relying on reports rather than listening to the call – how’d that work out for Bryan when covering “Patrick refusing a developmental deal”?

    Both of them apparently forgetting how the pricing system works on their own site is pretty telling. Imagine how they’d react if Vince made a mistake like that.


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