At WWE, each digital platform is not simply treated as a portal to consume content, but a destination to tell immersive stories and increase fan engagement with the overall product. And with the growth of WWE Network to 1.52 million average paid subscribers, WWE further bolstered its claim as a pioneer in the digital industry and the first sports-entertainment brand to serve live-streaming video content on a 24/7 basis.
Seamless multi-screen consumption and pervasive social media presence are the primary tenets of WWE's digital brand. In an evolving landscape where consumers multi-task on mobile devices while watching WWE programming, we aim to turn platforms such as WWE Network, WWE.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and the WWE App – among many others – into essential tools for the most comprehensive sports-entertainment experience.
The overall success of WWE Network has paved the way for an even bigger footprint of WWE's brand in the digital media landscape. In 2017, WWE launched WWE Network in China with PPTV and surpassed 9,000 hours of digital video on-demand content available in WWE Network's library, which is six times the amount of content hours (1,500) when the network started in 2014.
In addition, WWE Network made significant advances on the technological front by expanding support to Google Chromecast, which allows subscribers to cast WWE Network to their Chromecast-enabled TV or device from iOS or Android mobile apps.
With approximately 3 million weekly viewers of Monday Night Raw and 1.52 million total paid subscribers watching WWE Network, WWE already has an immense fanbase consuming tons of video content. This presents a challenge in how to program additional video content across our digital platforms that is not only compelling, but integral to the storylines we are already developing on TV and WWE Network.
WWE's strategy to achieve this goal has been to create and deliver exclusive, live-streaming video content across Facebook, Instagram, WWE.com, YouTube, Snapchat and the WWE App. Each digital platform serves a distinct purpose, all with the goal of extending the reach of WWE's brand and its one-of-a-kind connection to a passionate fanbase.
That reach also grows by leaps and bounds through our Superstars' engagement with their fans on Twitter and Instagram, where TV storylines are furthered and followers become participants in the dialogue.
During every live televised event, and continuing throughout the week surrounding these events, WWE's team of 50-plus content editors, video editors and social media experts strive to keep WWE fans consistently engaged. Before pay-per-view events take place on WWE Network, you can watch free action-packed matches on our pre-shows which are streamed live across all our digital platforms. The live coverage continues throughout each event with video highlights and exclusive interviews that you can only see on Facebook, and then continues after the event with post-show content exclusive to WWE Network or WWE.com and YouTube.
WWE's digital team also is quick to react to emerging social media trends by publishing in-demand content surrounding both our talent and celebrities in the realm of pop culture. And our social team presents our TV creative writing team with overnight updates on social sentiment on the segments that air on Raw, SmackDown and NXT, as well covering the latest meme content and buzzworthy news across our social media platforms.
WWE Network averaged 1.52 million average paid subscribers over the third quarter of 2017.
Through the first nine months of 2017, digital engagement continued to grow with video views up 23% to 14.2 billion and social media engagements up 5% to 912 million from the prior year.
In the third quarter of 2017, total revenue increased 14% to $186.4 million, based primarily on the strong performance of WWE's media, licensing and live event businesses.
WWE on YouTube has more than 22 million total subscribers, earning YouTube's coveted Diamond Play Button given to channels with more than 10 million subscribers.
WWE has had 13 billion video views in a 12-month span on YouTube. WWE is also the No. 1 Sports channel on YouTube ahead of the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, ESPN and NASCAR.
WWE currently has 831.4 million followers across 17 social media platforms and its overall followership has increased by 81.3 million followers for the year 2017.
WWE ranks 2nd in total fans of sports brands on Facebook (only behind FIFA World Cup).
WWE has 138 million followers on Instagram, an annual increase of 50.35%.
WWE is the No. 2 most followed sports league on Instagram (only behind NBA).
WWE has 184 million followers on Twitter, an annual increase of 20.77%.
WWE programming trends on Twitter every single week, 52 weeks per year.