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  1. #1
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    Best 4: Business


    So, I never get to talk about my time running a Domino’s. People seem relatively uninterested. It’s almost like pizza and wrestling don’t mix or something. Well, what if I told you Domino’s also sells wings? Oh, you’re on board now, huh? Ten years ago I kind of lucked into a Domino’s franchise. When the franchisee decided to get rid of a few of its smaller stores, I called dibs. You’d be surprised at how differently you see things once you become the babysitter of a building full of man-babies. I stopped watching wrestling around the time I sold it back to the original franchisee. I have a very hard time not seeing things the way I’d see them as the owner of a restaurant and I think that plays a huge part in me not enjoying the experience anymore. But, I don’t have all the information. Neither do you. And I think that’s where a lot of our complaints come from. So, I’m going to expose you to a lot of my thought process so that hopefully I ruin the whole thing for you too. O ops, I mean ruin it. Shit, I mean share my experiences. And ruin it.

    4. Ratings Only Matter Until They Plateau

    The Domino’s I ran was in a small town. The population was extremely capped. The only way to increase the number of customers I’d get on average was by pulling in people from surrounding cities which already had their own Domino’s. I’d have to not only attract people already wanting specifically Domino’s food but also convince them that they wanted my Domino’s and not their more conveniently located one. Basically, once you find your plateau you’ve found your plateau.

    Short of a city wide super gangbang that resulted in a surge of mutated babies fully developed into working class adults who specifically fed off sex and pizza, there wasn’t anything that was going to propel my customer base any higher. Many people think that a business just needs to “want it” a little more to get more sales, but that just isn’t the case. Sometimes you’re done. Even if I managed to suck in the surrounding city’s customers, eventually I’d still plateau. From there, my goal was to maintain the customers I already had so well that their word of mouth would be all the advertising I’d need, rather than ignoring them and focusing on new customers. Customers I already have are the ones spending their money; new customers haven’t spent a dime yet.

    I had to keep to a retention plan, which meant doing things like loyalty points before loyalty points became a nationwide Domino’s thing, or putting my stand in the city’s festivals not as a way to increase customer volume but as a show of goodwill to the city. Sometimes doing something for no reason other than to appear a part of the community, as unethical as it sounds, is better than not being there at all (so fuck you, Pizza Hut, if that’s your real name.) See, this is what people don't understand. They wonder why the WWE is able to score these great TV contracts or licensing fees when the product is supposedly so bad. It's because the brand is way more important than the product. In order of importance it goes: Brand, customer service, and product. That's it. If anyone tells you any different they've either never ran a business, never ran a successful business, or is a turtle and you're stoned. The WWE has been pushing all of these charity campaigns and world titles to winning sports teams and other shit the fans could absolutely not care about because it increases both the awareness of their brand and it's value. The better the brand, the stronger the word of mouth, the more money the brand is worth and the more customers it'll eventually get advertising free.

    Ratings are the exact same concept. Yes, it would be fantastic if the WWE could get 5.0 again, but realistically the ratings are around the 3.0 mark and that’s that. The lower that number starts to go, the harder the WWE will have to squeeze more money out of the customers they still have. Which often means giving in to their shitty, shitty demands. Sometimes, their demands don’t match the demands of the casual viewer, so the product will appear to suffer to most existing people but will start to look way more appealing to the wrestling fans.

    So, there’s this weird disconnect between people like me that want wrestling to be the way it used to be and the way it is now. “Story driven” versus the completely made up term “work rate.” We’ll get to the work rate part later, but for now, let’s just concentrate on the fact that such a thing even exists. I don’t really care for the product they put out so I barely watch the show. I’m not on a “wah, they didn’t book this angle the way I wanted so let’s all boycott the WWE for this week but be fine the next week” kick like is so common now, but I can safely say I’ve watched possibly four RAWs this year and zero Smackdowns, and I usually forget NXT and 205 even exist. Meanwhile, the WWE continues to go in the opposite direction, focusing more on the matches themselves while simultaneously watering down the psychology and storylines. The more I pull away, the less important I am to the WWE as they’re working on their retention plan to keep the fans who still matter. I guess you could say I’m in a different town along with the wrestling fans who moved on to other wrestling shows, and the WWE has the option to find viewers who not only want to view WWE television but also convince us we want their wrestling over a more conveniently located wrestling show.

    3. The Type of Customer Does Matter

    There’s a method in sales called “Loss Leader” which is a strategy we used to lure customers in with a free product in hopes that they’ll buy something that makes way more money, but this method makes the water so murky that it almost doesn’t have the long term affects you’re hoping for. We had a product called Cinna-stix that was basically half a slab of pizza dough cut into 8 perforated pieces and covered in butter and cinnamon and sold to people looking to die an early death by choking on their neck fat. They cost us basically nothing to make. Often, however, we’d give them away for free with the purchase of something else at full price because we hoped the appeal of a dessert would convince people they also wanted a whole pizza to go with it. The reason why we do that with specifically Cinna-stix is because they’re not the type of product we want people buying just to buy. Someone who wanted cinna-stix but can also be bribed into buying a full priced pizza is way more profitable than someone who comes in just to buy cinna-stix at its full price. It’s a great trade off.

    See, 100 customers who only buy cinna-stix is less important than 20 customers who buy full price pizza. That’s simple business you’d think, but you’d be surprised as how many people don’t understand that. If you give away your Wrestlemania for free, it’ll make back its own money back via ticket sales and other venues while you’re charging the customer full price for the other 11 months. This is where it starts getting murky, though. For instance, how many of those customers who bought a pizza with free sticks did so because they enjoy our pizza and how many of those same customers had no intention of buying the pizza had they not gotten a deal. If we took the deal away would those customers still buy the pizza at full price, and if so, why would we continue to give away the sticks for free if they didn’t affect anything. Unless I stopped every customer and asked them, intuitively, how they felt prior to buying their food versus how they feel like they felt after leaving then there was no way of knowing exactly how affective the deal was. That last sentence made my brain do a stomach flip.

    If the WWE did manage to get a 5.0, that’s great! We can all celebrate knowing that 5 million other complete strangers liked something we also liked and pat ourselves on the back for being a part of the cool kids’ club that no one wants to admit to their friends and family they’re a part of. From there they’d have to decide how many of those people watched because Brock Lesnar’s chest flab and fluctuating gut was on the show versus how many people are interested in their actual product. And the only way to know for sure is if the WWE polled all the fans, so they’d either have to hunt everyone down who watched the show and ask them, or open a poll on social media. From there, they have to decide how their 1 million votes represents the 5 million viewers, and because you’re on social media, they’d then have to find a way to see who voted as a casual fan versus who voted as a dedicated member of the IWC because those two have two entirely different interests.

    And before we dismiss Twitter, we have to consider that Nielsen themselves have a ratings system from Twitter that they supply the networks, and they can be used as leverage when negotiating a new deal or advertisement deals. And, saying “ratings don’t matter” isn’t an accurate statement despite so many people misquoting Vince McMahon when he said they don’t “live and die by ratings,” because ratings do matter the same way Cinna-stix sales matter. It’s a tiny way to make money, but if we had the option to give them away for free versus selling them, we’d sell them obviously. Money is money, but we don’t live and die based on that piggy bank revenue. However, while it’s great to see how many people are talking about your product, you also have to take into consideration that it’s not always good talk. For instance, I often times hashtag WWE despite having nothing good to say about them and not spending a dime on their products, meaning that even though my interaction is accounted for it adds up to dick sauce overall. Twitter does monitor how many views your tweets get, but they count anyone who scrolls past it as having viewed it. I’ve often seen 1000s or tens of 1000s of views on my tweets on @timrosetweeting and I know damn well no one reads my tweets on @timrosetweeting, because when I use @timrosetweeting, I’m usually talking in satire to mock the wrestling fanbase or complaining about stuff no one could possibly care about. @timrosetweeting. Got it? Great.

    Also, sometimes a product is simply easier to produce than others. When a network considers a TV show, what they’re really considering is their bottom line and loyalty. The WWE has one of the biggest, and also most toxic, fanbases of any TV show to this day already built in and ready to spend money. WWE also managed to improve its bottom line by getting rid of a lot of expenses it didn’t need like fireworks and Enzo Amore, and if you think that it was weird that it coincided with their network deal expiring, you’re insane. They instantly fluffed their numbers to make them look more appealing overnight by getting rid of things that do not affect their revenue in reality, but the bottom line now looks great. If I had the option of selling pizzas with those Barbie doll tables (don’t lie, you called them that) but those tables cost me a tiny bit of profit, I’d cut the table out of the equation and suddenly it looks like my pizzas are selling better than they really are by a tiny margin. Yay me.

    So, 2.0 may be as good as a 5.0 if the missing 3.0 of fans were never intending on paying for anything or were the wrong demographic, and yes, you can be the wrong demographic. They also may not even be the demographic for the commercials USA wants to advertise to and therefore doesn’t benefit from that revenue at all. If the ratings go down, then the revenue from ads goes down. Meaning that for a company to meet their bottom line they must succeed in other sources of revenue. Which the WWE did. The numbers are way more complicated than just yelling, “2.47 ratings?! THE SKY IS FALLING!”

    2. “The Customer is Always Right” Doesn't Mean You're Right

    This isn’t isolated to just wrestling. It’s not even isolated to just business. It’s a crazy new plague where people will quote, “the customer is always right” the same way zombies groan “bRRAAAaaaAIIINNNSSS” when trying to weasel their way into a better deal somewhere. You’ve probably even done it too. “I called in and said I wanted a pepperoni pizza, but they sent me a pubic hair pizza, and I know what I ordered! I want a free pizza!” And they have convinced themselves that since they are the customer, they are by default right. I wish that phrase had stayed behind the scenes where it belongs.

    I see it all the time in wrestling. People throwing monster fits when the WWE didn’t book something specifically the way they wanted, and demanding that the WWE change everything they had planned on a dime to appease them. I’ve heard people say the WWE owes them. Without us, there’s no WWE! That phrase, “the customer is always right,” has given the customer more power than they deserve, because anyone who knows anything about business knows that it’s a circle. The company wouldn’t exist if the customers weren’t willing to pay, true, but also there’d be nothing to pay for if the company didn’t exist. It’s equally beneficial. The only thing worse is when a company thinks they’re the ones in power, like how often times hospitals will treat patients as a product in the assembly line, and will treat them like crap because without them there’d be no patient. It goes both ways, but its way more toxic coming from the customer.

    It’s taken so literal. Do you know what “the customer is always right” really means? It means give the whiny customer what they want so you can keep their money or their business, so that you can move on quickly to the customers who aren’t whiny bitches. I’ve had people call in and say something is wrong with their pizza, and in the ten years of running Domino’s, I’ve always had the same policy: “just do what they want.” I’ve had employees who would argue back with the customer because they didn’t want the customer to get a free pizza which is an absolutely ridiculous mindset. That’s called jealousy. It doesn’t come from your pocket, so just do what they want. Just give them what they want so you can get off the phone and get to the customers who aren’t throwing a fit because their 40-piece pepperoni only had 38 (yes, I had that complaint).

    Unfortunately, everyone takes that phrase literal and now they think every company owes them something that the company in no way owes them. They’re giving them things that doesn’t affect them to shut them up. The fans don’t want Roman Reigns? Well, the WWE feels like you’re wrong, so occasionally they’ll give you a Randy Orton or AJ Styles on PPVs they don’t plan to lose much money on or on spots of big PPVs that won’t affect their sales, while secretly refocusing on Roman Reigns for the fans who are spending money on Roman Reigns t-shirts. “Oh yes, you’re absolutely right, you want Nakamura and AJ Styles. Here you are, 50 AJ Styles versus Nakamura matches. Oh, the ratings are still down? It’s almost as if that’s not what you really wanted. Here’s more Roman Reigns.”

    1. Work Rate isn’t Something You Can Just See

    Yeah, he works really hard, but did you also know he’s a gigantic racist and shit starter? You have no idea who I’m talking about right now because that description could literally be about anyone in the WWE and you wouldn’t know it because you don’t work there, and it doesn’t affect you, but it does affect the WWE as a business. If that is the case, and he is self-destructive, then I don’t care if he does do a 450 splash onto the dough to flatten it -- he’s not going to become world champion of the store. I mixed scenarios there, I think. Obviously, we don’t give world title shots to people who make pizza at Domino’s. That shit is reserved for the delivery drivers.

    People get really upset when a part-timer comes in and takes the place of a full-timer, despite any measure of success being against them. Yes, it really sucked when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came in and took the main event spot from CM Punk, but the fact is that CM Punk wouldn’t have gotten a fraction of the ticket sales the Rock got for simply being the Rock. Unfortunately, stomping your feet and yelling “that’s not fair!” hasn’t been a good argument in your favor since ever. If that’s all you’ve got, then you’ve got nothing. “Yeah, but he worked his ass off for 10 years!” Great, but the Rock could come in in one day and multiple the press’s interest in Wrestlemania 10-fold and that’s invaluable. It’s nothing to brag about to say you’ve been doing it for 10 years and can’t do that. What that means is that in 10 years you’ve failed to be the better employee.

    To bring it back, at Domino’s I had an assistant manager who worked there for 8 years. I also had a new assistant who had only worked there for 6 months. When the general manager quit, I had to promote someone. I promoted the 6-month’er. Why? Well, in 8 years, the assistant manager never managed to break into the general manager status. She was working really, really hard to be mediocre. This other woman was damn near ready to be general manager before I even pulled the trigger. She knew how to market and proved it. She knew how to hold the store and its crew by the reigns, and she proved it. The 8-year’er worked her ass off, and that’s all I heard. “What? You promoted the obviously more affective employee instead of the one who has been there longer? Why?” Because that’s all anyone sees. They judge a business decision from the outside of the company instead of considering there is information they’re not privy to. It goes back to the “yeah, but did you know they were a racist shit starter” from earlier. Had it affected anything yet? No. But that’s a ticking time bomb.

    So, you could argue that CM Punk didn’t have the clout he could have had because the WWE didn’t push him hard enough. Yeah, but wasn’t he also a backstage problem? Didn’t he also eat a puppy (citation needed)? Do you know why the WWE chose Roman Reigns over Curtis Axel, or are you just assuming? Also, why do we accept that Curtis Axel isn’t being pushed as a singles wrestler because he doesn’t have what it takes according to the WWE, but we won’t accept that maybe that’s why Ryback wasn’t pushed? Didn’t Curtis Axel “work really hard” for 10 years or does that only apply to Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens because we like them? Because if you’re prepared to make the argument that seniority is a thing, you need to be prepared to use it all the time. So, can someone please tell me why Kane isn’t Ultimate World Galaxy champion? And why his opponent isn’t just constantly Mark Henry at the top of every Wrestlemania? Oh, right, because we judge things from a customer perspective and then apply it to a business move and have no clue what we’re talking about.

    Seriously though, Kane for world champion.
    Last edited by TimRose; 06-28-2018 at 07:02 PM.

  2. #2
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Good argument, well put.

    I have to know something though:
    That guy who complained he only got 38 pieces of pepperoni. On his free pizza, did you make it with just the 2 pieces he missed out on first time?

    It's true though, business is business. I've never actually run one myself, but I've been around them enough to get what you're saying and it's mostly common sense. Make sure your primary business serves the needs & desires of the main portion of your regular customers and you have a solid base to build upon. Anything you do to entice additional customers will cost money, may profit in the short term, but if those additional customers don't stick around and you lose some of your previously dependable business as a result, it wasn't a good move.

    Whether we like it or not, the IWC do not provide the bulk of WWE's profit & income, therefore we should not be their main focus when it comes to making long term business decisions.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    May 2018
    Actually I sent them two pepperonis as a repair kit. But really, you’d be surprised at all the silly remakes we had to do. My personal favorite was having to remake one and cut it into squares because it “tastes better that way.” I rarely worked on the floor but I can only imagine it got worse.

    To your point about the IWC, I should also point out that the WWE does cater to the IWC fans using NXT as its cinna-stix. Easier to produce, costs them way less, and comes bundled for free as long as you’re willing to pay their full price for a $10 ppv and all the top IWC heroes are featured with all that straight up wrestling they love so much.

    Once you’re hooked in you’re watching their main pizza and you gotta pay for all the additional toppings like T-shirts and tickets.

  4. #4
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018
    I meant to feed back on your last but never got around to it, but I think I'll just stop by in here because I think more landed in this one to be frank. This has some real thinking points in it.

    Just to carry on the conversation...

    I'm with you on ratings to a degree. The only things I'd add is that 1) it sort of matters where the plateau comes, how long you stay there, and what the reasons for staying there are (is that plateau really as well as you can do or not), and 2) I also think you can argue that trends play a part in this, and if you try something new that doesn't break a trend that doesn't really matter either. My example for this is that I've always held you can't really hold the mid-90s ratings against 'Taker, Bret and Shawn because they inherited a situation in which ratings were already falling. All you can really say is that they weren't able to turn it around, not that they were at fault. In a similar situation in the contemporary period, you might be able to blame Roman Reigns for any decline that has happened in the last couple of years (and maybe you can't, I'd need to look into it way more to have a firm opinion) but you definitely can't blame him for the ratings not being where they were in 1999, because that's not the world he inherited.

    I'm totally with you on workrate. See, I was a big fan of guys like Bret Hart, Randy Savage, Ric Flair and Chris Benoit in the 1990s and around the turn of the millennium. All people that might now be considered 'net favourites, if you like, even though back then they were very popular both on and offline. But they weren't my favourites because of 'work rate'. Yes, they did work harder than pretty much everyone else (that's what made Bret the elite talent and Owen, the more natural athlete with the flashier moves, a rung down from that), but that was the means to the end, not the end in itself. I think 'workrate' became a term so that those people who didn't get what those guys were doing that made them so popular can try and put it in terms that they understand, using a fairly graspable trait that all those people described. But, of course, the number of people working really hard who never quite make that is the obvious drawback to the idea.

    I do take the point about the demographic, advertising and the number of people who are going to be converted into paying customers... I guess the question is, in the example you gave, if the difference was between a 5.0 and a 2.0, do we actually think the company could more than double their audience without picking up more net subscribers? It seems a bit pessimistic to me. I'm not really sure how to make it work with the Cinna-stix metaphor, though!

    Very much there for the idea that the customer is always right section. The only bit I'm dubious about is that the idea it's somehow worse coming from us. I'd say it's probably about the same and possibly even worse coming from the company - and that we are more likely to be annoyed about it coming from the customer more because that's the version we're more likely to experience. Instinctively I feel like the 'fuck you, buy this shit' attitude coming back the other way would be even worse though.

    The point about Nak/Styles and Reigns.... to a degree I think you're right, but I thought that the end point in the quotes was a little glib (i mean, by design clearly) and the thing I'd want to add is that we're sometimes guilty of a 'green grass' scenario. Like, we know that Roman has been handled badly. We know that Styles and Nakamura are both talented, ergo we want to see them instead. But we postulate a version in which they are handled better and when the time comes, it's usually managed little better than the stories we want to get rid of in the first place. So when it doesn't really work they go back to the stuff that was already more popular with the people who like everything they do.

    The last point is an interesting one and it's complex. Generally I tend to think the title match should go on last, or at the absolute least be 'co-promoted' as a double main event like they did at Wrestlemania. That last bit is my get out because I have softened over the years, with the obvious counterargument being how do you follow Hogan/Rock if you're HHH/Jericho coming off a lacklustre feud. I guess I still sort of hold my position in most circumstances because a) it's not really about fairness for me so much as what the overall health of the show is, and b) most of the time doesn't the show get the benefit from The Rock being on it whether he's in the 3rd match or the main event? So I do think it's fair to start to question whether it really is all about business - while obviously admitting that you're only privy to a limited amount of information. If it doesn't appear to be solely about business (having Rock in is a no-brainer but maybe there's debates about opposition, card placement, etc) then thinking about what you can infer from those decisions seems reasonable to me. So long as you treat any inferences you draw with a bit of caution and not as god-given facts.

    Two more things: I used to really like watching Axel on Superstars in his McGillicutty days, guy had a real old-school soundness that I was into.

    Though you've painted it here as an indy thing - and at times it is - I've seen way more of the 'story driven' and psychological stuff that you mentioned liking on NXT than on the main roster over the past three years, so maybe make more room to give it another try?

    But yeah, good stuff here. A lot of things to think about.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #5
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    The plateau part was a lot harder for me to write than it probably came off. I had deleted several additional paragraphs and some sentences here and there because if I hadn't the final column would've been huge and probably unreadable. As much as I pushed that a plateau is a plateau, it's only true an extent. For instance, my sales went up by around 1000 a week when a new hotel opened up only a few blocks down from us. We were the nearest pizza place and the only one visible from the road. So my town hadn't increased, but instead we were pulling people in from other towns on a constant basis which made that extra $1000 a real wildcard. Sometimes there'd be nothing going on in town so no one would be staying there and we'd be down the $1000 it appeared we normally got. I have no wrestling metaphor for that, unless its like Brock bringing in the UFC crowd but that felt like I was just stretching things. But yeah, definitely.

    To your point about picking up new subscribers from a 5.0 to a 2.0, it does seem pessimistic to think that the new customers wouldn't be subscribers but that's generally how its supposed to look. Remember, a lot of times WWE will give away free month(s) to pick up subscribers to fluff their numbers, but when the free trials end people cancel their subscriptions in droves. The biggest example was when it first launched. So if you imagine all those people then flocking over to the TV show and bumping their numbers up to 5.0, most of them were canceling their membership soon if not already. WWE struggled for years to find out what kept those people and what made them leave. Of course you could attribute the people leaving to the technical difficulties, but then that goes back to the whole "the type of customers do matter" part as the only people keeping the service at the time were hardcore wrestling fans. I think every friend of mine (who is less of a fan of wrestling than I am, if you can believe it) all dropped the service because the benefit of the free PPV wasn't greater than all the issues they were seeing. The WWE also caught on to this a couple years ago when they cut all the extra shows completely because quite frankly the only people still subscribing were people who just wanted to see wrestling. That's their words, not mine. I watched for season 1 of swerved.

    I mean yeah, I could write forever about these things. Namely because it doesn't just pertain to wrestling. I can't even go to a restaurant without thinking, "that thing they just did -- that thing probably cost them X amount of dollars." Every time I hear someone in a drive thru say, "is that all?" I want to rip my ears off. I mean, my degree isn't in business accounting, I do personal accounting that just happens to have some overlap, so take everything I say as "yeah, but we ran a really small Domino's and doesn't know shit." Because that's probably true. The point was that's how I see it when I think of these things. I'm probably totally off base with everything.

    Edit: also, thank you for the in depth feedback. I definitely needed it.
    Last edited by TimRose; 06-20-2018 at 12:34 PM.

  6. #6
    The Brain
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    Finally got around to this, really enjoyed it as expected. A few personal points:

    I'm not sure if this will surprise you or not, but I too prefer a good story over a good "workrate" match when it comes down to it. Ideally I'd like to see a best of both world's scenario, of course, but if I choose between a match with good characters/story or a match with the most moves possible, it's an easy pick for me. I like matches that are athletic and exciting, but that's not the way to make a sale. Nobody is buying hunks of pepperoni by themselves, if I may co-opt your metaphor badly.

    I do think Pete makes a good point about expectation against reality, especially in WWE. If fans are getting bad stories regardless, then why wouldn't they want the guys they find more exciting in the ring first and foremost? And then, when the story is still bad, of course it's disappointing, but it's not necessarily an argument to go back to the people they were using before without effect. It's a foundational issue.

    I also want to say I HATE that phrase, "the customer is always right". Far too many times I have heard it used in pure nonsense scenarios. God damn customers, why can't we have business without them?

    I will say, I'm not sure I agree with your point about part time guys, or at least not completely. Obviously I can only argue from my own perspective, but generally I would rather see them invest in a guy who is around all the time rather than bring in the big guns who will only show up one night out of the year. It's related to the loss leader idea, I think. You might make less money right now main eventing with, say, Seth Rollins as opposed to the Rock, but if you never bother to try to break Rollins out on the top level, how are you going to make money tomorrow? My favorite compromise solution is to match up part timers with current guys and try to have the best of both worlds, but largely WWE hasn't gone that route in recent years, and to me that's the point of frustration.

    Related to that point, you mentioned Axel and I want to refer back to another phrase you used, "working hard to be mediocre". That's why pretty much nobody is pulling for Axel, as opposed to guys like Bryan and Owens. All have worked hard, I'm sure, but Axel worked hard to keep his head barely above water at the bottom of the card, whereas Bryan and Owens worked hard with no safety net and became stars (to an extent) before ever stepping in the door. It's impressive, it feels earned, and people recognize the talent, so comparing them isn't quite on point. People saw more in Ryback than they did in Axel, despite both getting chances to show what they could do. Ryback got more of a chance, yeah, but the people responded.

    Anyway, I'm not sure if I wandered off topic somewhere in there, but I really enjoyed reading this and didn't mind the length at all. Cheers, always good to see you drop a column!

  7. #7
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimRose View Post
    To your point about picking up new subscribers from a 5.0 to a 2.0, it does seem pessimistic to think that the new customers wouldn't be subscribers but that's generally how its supposed to look. Remember, a lot of times WWE will give away free month(s) to pick up subscribers to fluff their numbers, but when the free trials end people cancel their subscriptions in droves. The biggest example was when it first launched. So if you imagine all those people then flocking over to the TV show and bumping their numbers up to 5.0, most of them were canceling their membership soon if not already. WWE struggled for years to find out what kept those people and what made them leave. Of course you could attribute the people leaving to the technical difficulties, but then that goes back to the whole "the type of customers do matter" part as the only people keeping the service at the time were hardcore wrestling fans. I think every friend of mine (who is less of a fan of wrestling than I am, if you can believe it) all dropped the service because the benefit of the free PPV wasn't greater than all the issues they were seeing. The WWE also caught on to this a couple years ago when they cut all the extra shows completely because quite frankly the only people still subscribing were people who just wanted to see wrestling. That's their words, not mine. I watched for season 1 of swerved.

    No problem on the in depth feed, my pleasure.

    Just to come back to this point for a minute.... I don't disagree with the general sentiment you're expressing here about the vast majority of the extra audience not picking up anything that costs, but isn't the whole point of TV throughout history for wrestling companies being that a percentage will? So yes, people cancel their free subscription in droves, but in each group there'll still be a percentage that decide to stick around, and those are the people you're really interested in?

    So for argument's sake, say that the percentage of network subscribers in the 2.0 rating is up around 90 or so per cent. Now imagine that it's a 5.0 rating. Unless you actively put off the first set of fans (possible but in the current climate I'd suggest unlikely - they are lifers, for the most part), even if the percentage is more like 5% on the remaining 3 points in that rating... that still means you're an extra 180,000 subscribers better off. That's around an extra 9-10% yield, if you want to look at it that way, which in most investments I see is something people would consider a pretty solid gain.

    It's actually the same principle as a phishing scam, in a way. When you reach many more people, you don't need to actually turn that many casual fans into paying regular fans in order to see sizeable increases. The trick is in getting those people in without losing your existing fans, your key demographic, etc. But the one thing I've noticed in wrestling is that newer fans tend to be drawn in by the enthusiasm of existing fans - when they are more into it, wrestling seems to get 'cooler', and when they're not, no one else cares enough to check it out.

    I'm not the biggest advocate of 1998-1999 in wrestling by any stretch but one thing that period proved is that if wrestling heats up, and if you've got stars that people want to see, you can convert casual fans into a group of 'regular casuals' in reasonably big numbers. No, they're not going to be lifers, and they'll probably drift away when guy a retires and guy b goes to Hollywood. But if the WWE Network had existed in 1999 a huge number of those people who no longer watch wrestling would have had a subscription.

    I don't know what this last point has to do with anything, you've just set me to thinking is all....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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