TNA Jumps Into the Broadband Ring

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Nashville-based pro wrestling outfit TNA will look to pin down Web viewers with a new on-demand subscription Internet offering.

The network’s Video Vault (www.tnavideovault.com) Web site provides access to all of the seven-year-old company’s pay-per-view events since 2004, according to vice president of marketing Mike Weber. Future PPV events, including the network’s June 21 Slamiversary PPV show, will debut on the service 60 days after initially premiering live on cable and satellite services.

TNA fans can access the events for a monthly subscription fee of $7.99 or a yearly $49.99. Users can also view individual PPV events a la carte for $3.99. The company’s live PPV events sell for a suggested retail price of $29.95.

Weber said the service allows TNA to serve its fans on an on-demand basis through the Web, while helping to expose online users to the TNA brand. “We’re looking at every opportunity to exploit our program to our fullest,” said Weber, adding that it’s too early to provide subscription or revenue results from the online offering.

“Essentially, it’s our online on-demand service and we don’t feel it cannibalizes the live PPV buy, but we do believe it’s a great way to monetize the program after its run.”

Unlike its competitor World Wrestling Entertainment, TNA does not offer its live PPV events simultaneously on the Web and through linear cable and satellite services, but Weber would not rule out the possibility of providing such services in the future.

“The critical mass of people having high-speed access in their homes is getting there — you can buy a PPV program and have a very satisfying viewing experience,” he said.

The launch of Video Vault comes as the company is enjoying a viewership spike for its weekly Thursday night series TNA: Impact on Spike TV. Year-to-date, the series is averaging 1.7 million viewers, up 18% over the same period in 2008.

“We couldn’t do what we do on PPV without a strong [basic cable] programmer and without a strong marketing partner like Spike,” he said. “The business model for wrestling would not work without a strong programmer partner to support the storylines and the promotion of those key events each month.”

Weber would not say how many buys TNA’s monthly PPV buys generate, but added the company has not suffered significant performance losses due to the tough economic environment.

“We’re out there constantly talking to our fans and to cable operators about our PPV events and we’re succeeding,” he said. “The economy is not making our jobs any easier, but we’re not seeing significant dropoffs.”

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