Movies, Porn Up; Events Down: SET

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NEW YORK -Movies, porn and wrestling drove the 2000 pay-per-view business, while PPV-event revenue continued to slide due to a huge drop in boxing revenue, according to Showtime Event Television.

PPV movie revenue jumped $313 million to $1.3 billion, while adult-PPV revenue jumped $67 million to $409 million. But PPV event revenue fell $91 million to $394 million, led by a $103 million drop in boxing revenue, according to Showtime estimates.

Overall, PPV will surpass $2 billion in revenue this year, up from 1.9 billion in 1999, according to SET's annual industry overview.

Part of the blame for the drop in event revenue should be attributed to decreased fight marketing by cable operators and other distributors, which is sometimes caused by protracted negotiations, said SET executive vice president of corporate strategy and communications Mark Greenberg.

"We have argued so much on splits that we lose months and months and months on marketing time," said Greenberg, citing the Felix Trinidad-David Reid bout in March as an example of a fight that could've drawn more PPV buys had it been better marketed.

"The issue that we get into in the pay-per-view business, where we just fight over a point or two, has been a fundamental issue that just won't resolve itself," Greenberg said.

Executives at In Demand, which negotiates splits with SET for most cable operators, chose not to get on the mat with Greenberg.

"I can respond to that, but it's not going to be productive in terms of growing the category," said In Demand executive vice president Rob Jacobson.

SET pulled the Mike Tyson- Lou Savarese fight from PPV in March, after a revenue-split dispute with In Demand.

Greenberg said last week that bout would probably have pulled 450,000 buys, which translates to more than $22 million in gross revenue if the fight were priced at the standard $50 for major bouts.

In Demand remains bullish on the movie side of the business because of growth in digital cable and the potential of video-on- demand, Jacobson said. SET didn't track VOD revenue in 2000 because only a few cable operators conducted trials, which didn't draw significant revenue, Greenberg said.

On the boxing-event side, Jacobson expects a turnaround, driven by big names like Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosley, Trinidad and Fernando Vargas.

Wrestling dominated the event category in 2000, generating $262 million in revenue, up from $247 million last year. Wrestling events distributed by World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. were the hottest of the year, comprising 12 of the top 20.

The June 17 De La Hoya-Mosley bout distributed by TVKO was the richest PPV event of the year, generating $30 million in revenue.

The top five wrestling events of the year (all from the WWF) generated $102.2 million in revenue, edging out the $102.1 million generated by the top five boxing events.

TVKO was the clear winner on the boxing side, pulling four of the top five boxing events of the year. SET placed only one bout in the top five-the Oct. 20 Tyson-Andrew Golota bout, which pulled $22.5 million in revenue.

In terms of PPV buys, WWFE counted 12 of the top 13 events, according to SET estimates. Wrestlemania
was the most popular event of the year, drawing 700,000 buys in April.

Only one boxing event made it into the top 10 of all event buys. SET placed just two events in the top 20, while TVKO had four events there.

WWFE dominated the event business, netting 54.5 percent of all revenue. It was followed by TVKO (20.3 percent), World Championship Wrestling (10.5 percent), SET (8.4 percent) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (2.1 percent).

There were no huge boxing events in 2000. The only bout to grab a place in the all-time top 20 was the $29.7 million generated by the June De La Hoya-Mosley fight, which ranked 16th in terms of revenue for all time. But in terms of PPV buys, no events in 2000, including the De La Hoya-Mosley fight, penetrated the top 20.

On the music side, The Last Kiss
concert from SET was the most popular PPV concert of the year, generating $1.2 million in revenue.

TLC placed second ($800,000), followed by Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots, which each generated $500,000 from their separate concerts.

The number of PPV-available households continues to increase, jumping from 45 million in 1999 to 52.4 million in 2000.

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