Looking to further extend its pay-per-view
professional-wrestling brand, World Championship Wrestling is offering monthly hour-long
PPV events profiling its top stars.
The events, coupled with the company's traditional PPV
shows, provide both WCW and operators with more opportunities to capitalize on the popular
The PPV shows -- which feature vignettes on the company's
more popular wrestling personalities -- began running in January on direct-broadcast
satellite services DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network, along
with the organization's 12 major PPV events, newly named vice president of WCW Enterprises
Jay Hassman said. Viewer's Choice began running the shows in May.
Many of the events carry retail prices as low as $5.95 --
well below the $29.95 price of WCW's major wrestling events.
This month's show, for example, features a
behind-the-scenes look at the making of the WCW Nitro Girls' swimsuit calendar, while the
September event features a look at WCW world heavyweight champion Kevin Nash.
"We have a lot of characters and wrestlers that are
unknown to our fans outside of their appearances on PPV, or on our Nitro and Thunder
shows," Hassman said. "The profiles are designed to let fans know [the
wrestlers] more as people and to provide more interaction between the wrestler and the
While the shows don't generate the same buy-rates as the
more established live shows, Hassman said, the profiles have performed
"surprisingly" well, particularly in the DBS universe, although he would not
provide specific details.
"It's doing better than any of us expected," he
said. "The WCW fan base seems to be really starving for this type of product."
Along with generating incremental revenue, the shows also
extend the WCW brand on PPV. While buy-rates for the organization's monthly PPV events
have fallen after a very strong 1998 campaign, Hassman expects those numbers to take an
upturn with the added exposure and the continued strong marketing efforts of cable
"We're beginning to successfully reach our audience by
increasing the number of times the public is seeing the brand," he said.
The company will have most of its top wrestlers back for
the fourth quarter after an injury-plagued past few months, he added.
"Wrestling is a cyclical business, but we feel good
going into the rest of the year," Hassman said. "Given that our wrestlers are
now back from injuries, we expect our ratings and buy-rates to go up."