WWE said Tuesday that it named Matthew Singerman EVP of programming, and that the Fox News Channel and TV Guide Network veteran may help it launch a new network.
The wrestling programmer, which supplies shows to Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) USA Network and Syfy, along with ION Television, noted in the announcement that Singerman's responsibilities include work on "a potential WWE Network." WWE executives told analysts on the company's third-quarter earnings call that it is developing a network but hasn't settled on whether to use traditional pay TV or over-the-top distribution to reach subscribers.
"We continue developing our network, looking at growth [through] traditional and non-traditional means," WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said on the earnings call.
In February, WWE disclosed that it was considering charging $13 to $15 monthly if it launched a premium WWE network, and that it had conducted research that found it may be able to sign 2 million to 4 million subscribers at that price.
CFO George Barrios said on the Q3 call that WWE expects it could also draw a big following if it pursues a direct-to-consumer approach. "Our market research and analysis indicate that potential for a meaningful subscriber base and a significant economic opportunity. This opportunity is comparable whether the network is distributed through traditional cable, satellite and telco partners or through over the top digital distribution," Barrios told analysts.
Singerman has some experience launching new networks. Before joining WWE, he worked as a consultant for DirecTV's (Nasdaq: DTV) new Pivot channel, Back9 Network, NFL Network and NuvoTV.
A 20-year industry veteran, Singerman worked previously as SVP of programming at Reelz Channel. He was also SVP of programming and production at TV Guide Network, and worked earlier as executive producer of morning programming for Fox News Channel.
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