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  • In the world of professional wrestling, there's something called a "Swerve."

  • ANNOUNCER: "HULK HOGAN HAS BETRAYED WCW!"

  • Some examples: These tag team partners are called "Baby-faces", or the good guys.

  • Then one of them swerves, when he super-kicks his tag-team partner in the head, quickly

  • assuming the role of the bad guy, or what the wrestling world calls the "heel".

  • ANNOUNCER: "ARE YOU KIDDING?

  • WHAT A DISPICABLE ACT THAT WAS!"

  • Or a match is almost lost, whenwhat's that?

  • The superstar wrestler appears out of nowhere sprinting down the aisle to save the match.

  • ANNOUNCER: "THAT'S THE WARRIOR'S MUSIC!

  • IT'S THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR!"

  • That's a swerve.

  • So it should go as no surprise that World Wrestling Entertainment, known as the WWE,

  • the most popular brand of sports entertainment in the world is prepared for any swerves that

  • come their way.

  • So here's the story of how the WWE learned to see the swerve coming.

  • So I spoke to Bloomberg reporters Felix Gillette...

  • Gillette: I'm a writer for Bloomberg News for the global business team.

  • and Kim Bhasin

  • Bhasin: And I'm the U.S. luxury reporter at Bloomberg.

  • To find out exactly how the WWE is positioning itself for an all-out global invasion.

  • Which starts with a massive change to their lucrative pay-per-view model.

  • Gillette: WWE basically pioneered the pay-per-view model on cable.

  • I remember as a kid when the pay-per-view events came up all of our friends would scramble

  • around and try and get one of the parents to, to pay for it.

  • But in 2014, they took a HUGE risk.

  • Gillette: They saw a little bit sooner than some of the other entertainment brands that

  • where this whole thing was moving was away from cable and satellite television, and towards

  • on demand streaming video apps.

  • Gillette: They made this risky decision in essence cannibalizing that pay-per-view model,

  • which they had essentially built.

  • And after some early turbulence it's working.

  • Roughly 1.5 million people are paying a $9.99 a month

  • for the WWE app, making it the fifth-most popular streaming OTT service.

  • This "adapt or die" approach is in the WWE's DNA.

  • Over the past 30 years the company always seems to think two steps ahead.

  • In the early 90s…

  • Bhasin: WWE was at its most threatened when Ted Turner took them on with WCW

  • Which stands for World Championship Wrestling.

  • And back then, the WCW was winning the ratings war.

  • So in order to compete with them

  • Bhasin: WWE had changed its product from a family-friendly

  • kind of cartoonish style to this really raw,

  • that's why they called their show RAW.

  • It was this raw style of wrestling.

  • with violent, outrageous reality inspired plotlines and aggressive personas.

  • ANNOUNCER: "FROM A 16 FOOT LADDER!"

  • Bhasin: And they won that fight against Ted Turner.

  • And they bought WCW.

  • The early 2000s ushered in an era of testosterone-driven programming aimed at

  • the red-blooded American male

  • Bhasin: Bra and panties matches and people smashing each other over the head with like

  • barbed wire bats and things like that.

  • Until 2015 when WWE fans started a hashtag #GiveDivasAChance.

  • Since then, WWE hired 40 more female wrestlers.

  • And that growing cast of female characters was part of a much larger plan.

  • Bhasin: They started to try to appeal to a broader set of people.

  • Gillette: Let's attract more female fans.

  • And after we've attracted more female fans, let's attract more international fans

  • They're broadening their base and they're doing that in large part to make it

  • more advertiser friendly.

  • And not just friendly to advertisers

  • Gillette: They're trying to build up their fan base in China, they're trying to build

  • up their fan base in Europe, they you know already have a pretty good fan base in India.

  • Bhasin: India is a place where they already have an established wrestling culture.

  • Because of the gigantic Indian wrestler The Great Kali.

  • But there's still a lot of work to do.

  • While the WWE set a revenue record in 2017, only 30% of it is coming from overseas audience.

  • And there's one person whose responsibility is to grow that number.

  • Bhasin: The buck eventually stops at Vince McMahon no matter what's happening within

  • WWE.

  • Gillette: Yeah, he's a very controlling guy, and it's a very, very, very tightly scripted

  • company.

  • Bhasin: And that goes down the board to big stars' entrance music,

  • and their outfits and things like that.

  • So with a CEO like McMahon always planning two moves ahead

  • and an aggressive push into multiple international markets, a big issue... is money.

  • Gillette: It's hard to do all those things simultaneously without committing a huge amount

  • of capital to it.

  • And that's where the WWE becomes an attractive company for buyers.

  • Gillette: Potentially one thing that could happen with WWE is they could benefit by being

  • acquired by a bigger technology or telecom company.

  • An Amazon, or a Facebook, or a 21st Century Fox.

  • So with a market cap of $2.8 billion, the advantage of owning 100% of their own content,

  • and a rapid consolidation spreading throughout the entertainment industry, it looks like

  • the WWE is well positioned, even if there are swerves ahead.

In the world of professional wrestling, there's something called a "Swerve."

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プロレスはいつからこんなに儲かるようになったのか? (When Did Pro Wrestling Become So Profitable?)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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