World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) announced it will be launching its subscription based WWE Network in China; after agreeing on a revenue-sharing deal with PPTV, a video streaming subsidiary of Suning Commerce Group (SHE: 002024). China is the final frontier for the WWE, which averaged 1.63 million subscribers during Q2 ‘17 and streams in over 180 countries worldwide. The WWE has acknowledged that expansion into China is “critical to the company’s future growth”, as its major cities are home to more than 140 million fans, only some of which are currently consuming content legitimately.

WWE shares rise as streaming channel launches in China

Howie Long-Short: While the WWE’s pivot from PPV to subscription based programming has proven successful stateside, subscription-based streaming services are yet to become mainstream in China. Asia is a huge opportunity, but it may take some time to gain real traction.

Fan Marino: Did you know? Tian Bing is the first China-born superstar in WWE history. He made his debut at WrestleMania 33.