‘India No. 1 country in WWE content consumption’

George Barrios, WWE's CFO - InsideSport

India has emerged as the No. 1 country in the world in WWE content consumption.

George Barrios, WWE’s CFO has revealed the information to the CNBC host Jim Cramer during the popular finance talk show Mad Money. The No. 1 country that consumes WWE video content in the world is India, Barrios has revealed in the show. The Indian territory has been a pillar of WWE’s global rise along with its seemingly niche content offering.

WWE from a tiny ticketing event three and a half decades ago has reached $800 million in revenues, a $2.6 billion market cap, and 850 million social media followers to become the hottest sports property the world over, CNBC.com has reported with inputs from the Mad Money show.

The WWE RAW and the WWE SMACKDOWN have been among the most watched sports shows with the live broadcast and repeats regularly featuring among in the Top 5 lists of sports genre shows in Indian television. The commercial television sport has carved a position for itself to excel in tough competition from cricket and India’s top domestic leagues.

“A massive overhaul of the wrestling network in 2013 and 2014 drove the wave of growth that made it a central player in digital media despite its seemingly niche content,” Barrios has told the Mad Money show host. “Content, continued global growth and the direct-to-consumer digital has turned us into a data powerhouse. We’ve seen about 70% growth since 2008, and we think there’s a lot more runway.”

Barrios largely credited WWE CEO Vince McMahon for transforming the company from a small tours-and-tickets business to a global media giant.

According to Barrios, the wrestling entertainment company has more social media followers than any other sports property across the globe. WWE is the No. 1 in sports and No. 2 among overall channels on Youtube. The online WWE videos viewership from 500 million times in 2010 has grown to 20 billion in 2017.

“We call it tiering the content. A lot of people take the content and put it all over all the different platforms and it cannibalizes,” Barrios has said on WWE’s content distribution strategy. WWE’s unique content production approach is two-pronged – TV and social media.

Around five hours of content a week is produced specifically for paid TV. It also produces about 600 hours of content for YouTube, Facebook and the WWE website that is different from what paid TV viewers are getting. “Then we’re going to do about (300), 400 hours on our direct-to-consumer network to super-serve our most passionate fans. So all those different platforms, different content … it raises all boats,” Barrios said.