Lagana on NWAs Current Business Model Not Being Sustainable

– NWA Vice President Dave Lagana spoke with the Prime Time with Sean Mooney podcast discussing the NWA’s current business model and how it can succeed when it’s not currently sustainable. Highlights from the discussion are below:

On NWA’s current business model and plan: “So the comment Billy [Corgan] made prior to this, I think he said at the press conference, you know. ‘This is not a sustainable model.’ Meaning, spending what we spend per episode and putting it on YouTube, with the YouTube money — and I’ll be transparent. The production is not being paid for right now on YouTube money alone. But what has happened since we launched was, the audience has grown so quickly that we are a lot closer to being sustainable than we were before we started. And there’s a combination. So paying for this is ticket sales, merch, YouTube ad money, and then like you said, selling tickets. So now, our breaks will evolve. If Nick Aldis is defending the NWA Title in, like he’s wrestling in Minneapolis this weekend. So there’s a ticket on-sale in the show. We also put a ticket-selling promo if either the promoter would want to purchase that as an ad. So the business model of the show is, to really be accessible for anyone … as long as it fits the genre, and we produce the content so it fits inside of our world, this show can be a marketing tool to anyone who wants to sell to this kind of audience.”

On the plan to get them to sustainability: “Yeah so the plan is simple. And as expensive as the show is, it’s probably 10 to 15 times cheaper than what, let’s say, AEW’s production costs. So our per-episode number … it’s a lot closer to what it is, and that’s one of the reasons we went with this studio specifically where we didn’t need a production truck. It’s all built in, everything is in-house. We use a lot of their in-house people, which is a lot of Emmy Award winners. We didn’t hire everybody who’s done wrestling for the last 20 years, we went a new direction. The talents understand, we have certain talents under exclusive deals, other talents are working on exclusive for a cycle, maybe two cycles.”

On the economics of the show’s YouTube schedule: “The economics of this are really unique because it shouldn’t work. This should not work on any level, putting a show for free on YouTube. But the reason it’s working is, it’s really interesting. So a live episode when we premiere it at 6:05 Eastern, all three weeks we’ve peaked at about 12,000 live concurrent viewers. But what’s happening after that is, within 12 to 15 hours, it’s 120,000 viewers. So 10 times the number of people that watched it live are watching it on their schedule and they’re not — I was concerned that people would go, ‘Well, if I don’t watch it live, it’s whatever.’ But this is the speed the culture moves.”

On the marketing benefits of YouTube: “And a platform like YouTube can do for me what CBS can’t. So for example, if you’re not watching CBS or see an ad for CBS, you may not know about the show that’s on CBS. With YouTube it allows, if you watch one hour of AEW Dark, they might suggest, ‘Well here’s another show that’s an hour that people like you are watching. Why don’t you watch this?’ And in our first week, somewhere between 35% and 41% of the people that watched Powerrr watched AEW Dark. And that costs zero dollars of marketing because the platform allowed it. So I think some version of the show will forever be for free on YouTube, and we have our ad breaks after a live premiere we put YouTube ad breaks. And the goal is to continue to grow the audience so it becomes a sustainable product.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Prime Time with Sean Mooney with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.


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