Pay-per-view (PPV) provides a service by which a television audience can purchase events to view via private telecast. The broadcaster shows the event at the same time to everyone ordering it (as opposed to video-on-demand systems, which allow viewers to see recorded broadcasts at any time). Events can be purchased using an on-screen guide, an automated telephone system, or through a live customer service representative. Events often include feature films, sporting events and entertainment.
The Zenith Phonevision system became the first pay-per-view system tested in the United States. Developed in 1951, it used telephone lines to take and receive orders as well as to de-scramble a broadcast signal. Phonevision field-tests ran for 90 days in Chicago. The system used IBM punched cards to de-scramble a signal broadcast during the broadcast station's "off-time". Both systems showed promise, but the FCC denied them permits.
One of the earliest pay-per-view systems on cable, the Optical Systems Channel 100, first entered service in 1972 in San Diego through Mission Cable (acquired by Cox Communications) and TheaterVisioN, which operated out of Sarasota, Florida. These early systems quickly went out of business, as the cable industry adopted satellite technology and as flat-rate systems like Home Box Office became popular.
Boxing fans were first introduced to their sport on pay-per-view with the Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier fight "Thrilla In Manila", there was also another in 1980, when Roberto Duran defeated Sugar Ray Leonard. Cable companies offered the match for $10, and about 155,000 customers paid to watch the fight.
A major pay-per-view event occurred on September 16, 1981, when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas "Hitman" Hearns for the Welterweight Championship. Viacom Cablevision in Nashville, Tennessee, the first system to offer the event, sold over fifty percent of its subscribers for the fight. Leonard visited Nashville to promote the fight, and the event proved such a success that Viacom themed its annual report for that year around it. Viacom's Marketing Director was Pat Thompson who put together the fight and subsequently put together additional PPV fights, wrestling matches, and even a Broadway play.
After leaving Viacom, Thompson became head of Sports View and produced the first pay-per-view football game on October 16, 1983, when Tennessee played Alabama from Birmingham, Alabama. Sports View played a role in building pay-per-view networks and became the early pioneer in developing TigerVision for LSU, TideVision for Alabama, and UT Vol Seat for Tennessee. Sports View also produced the Ohio State-Michigan Football game on PPV in November 1983.
In 1985, the first U.S. cable channels devoted to pay-per-view, Viewer's Choice, Cable Video Store, First Choice, and Request TV began operation within days of each other. Viewer's Choice serviced both home satellite-dish and cable customers, while Request TV, though broadcasting to cable viewers, would not become available to dish-owners until the 1990s.
First Choice PPV was available on Rogers Cablesystems in the United States and Canada. When Paragon Cablesystems acquired the Rogers Cablesystems in San Antonio, Texas First Choice continued until 1996 when Time Warner Cable bought Paragon Cablesystems in San Antonio, Texas.
The term "pay-per-view" did not come into general use until the late 1980s when companies like iN DEMAND, HBO, and Showtime started using the system to show movies and some of their productions. In Demand would show movies, concerts, and other events, with live sporting events such as WrestleMania predominant. Prices ranging from $3.99 to $49.99, while HBO and Showtime, with their legs TVKO and SET Pay Per View, would offer championship boxing with prices ranging from $14.99 to $54.99.
ESPN has shown college football and basketball games on pay-per-view. The boxing undercard Latin Fury, shown on June 28, 2003, became ESPN's first boxing pay-per-view card and also the first pay-per-view boxing card held in Puerto Rico. Pay-per-view has provided a revenue stream for professional wrestling companies like WWE, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Ring of Honor (ROH) and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA).
In the United States pay-per-view broadcasters transmit without advertisements, unlike almost all other broadcasters.
In 2006 HBO generated 3,700,000 pay-per-view buys with $177,000,000 in gross sales. The only year with more buys previously, 1999, had a total of 4,000,000. However, the record fell in 2007 when HBO sold 4,800,000 PPV buys with $255,000,000 in sales.
But 1999 differed radically from 2006. 1999 saw De La Hoya-Trinidad (1,400,000 buys), Holyfield-Lewis I (1,200,000), Holyfield-Lewis II (850,000), and De La Hoya-Quartey (570,000). By contrast, only one pay-per-view mega-fight took place in 2006: De La Hoya-Mayorga (925,000 buys). Rahman-Maskaev bombed with under 50,000. The other eight PPV cards last year[when?] all fell in the 325,000–450,000 range. Pay-per-view fights in that range almost always generate more money for the promoter and fighters than HBO wants to pay for an HBO World Championship Boxing license-fee.
In May 2007, the super-welterweight boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. on HBO PPV became the biggest-selling non-heavyweight title fight, with a little more than 2.5 million buyers. The fight itself generated roughly $134.4 million in domestic PPV revenue, making it the most lucrative prizefight of all time.
The leading PPV attraction, Oscar De La Hoya, has "sold" approximately 12.8 million units in total, giving $612 million in domestic television receipts. In third place in buys, Evander Holyfield has achieved 12.6 million units ($543 million); and in second, Mike Tyson has reached 12.4 million units ($545 million). Floyd "Money" Mayweather has generated 9,6 million buys and $543 million in revenue
Ross Greenburg, then president of HBO Sports, called the expansion of pay-per-view "the biggest economic issue in boxing" and said:
"I can't tell you that pay-per-view helps the sport because it doesn't. It hurts the sport because it narrows our audience, but it's a fact of life. Every time we try to make an HBO World Championship Boxing fight, we're up against mythical pay-per-view numbers. HBO doesn't make a lot of money from pay-per-view. There's usually a cap on what we can make. But the promoters and fighters insist on pay-per-view because that's where their greatest profits lie."
"It's a big problem," Greenburg continues. "It's getting harder and harder to put fighters like Manny Pacquiao on HBO World Championship Boxing. If Floyd Mayweather beats Oscar, he might never fight on HBO World Championship Boxing again. But if HBO stopped doing pay-per-view, the promoters would simply do it on their own [like Bob Arum did with Cotto-Malignaggi in June 2006] or find someone else who will do it for them."
Former HBO Sports President Seth Abraham concurs, saying, "I think, if Lou (DiBella) and I were still at HBO, we'd be in the same pickle as far as the exodus of fights to pay-per-view is concerned."
Select HBO/Showtime PPV boxing buyrates between 1991 and 2012:
|Apr 19, 1991||Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman||Holyfield wins by UD (116–111, 117–110, 115–112)||1,400,000|
|Oct 18, 1991||Ray Mercer vs. Tommy Morrison||Mercer wins by KO in round 5||200,000|
|Jun 28, 1991||Mike Tyson vs. Donovan Ruddock II||Tyson wins by UD (113–109, 114–108, 114–108)||1,250,000|
|Jun 19, 1992||Evander Holyfield vs. Larry Holmes||Holyfield wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112)||730,000|
|Jun 7, 1993||George Foreman vs. Tommy Morrison||Morrison wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 118–108)||600,000|
|Aug 19, 1995||Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley||Tyson wins by DQ in round 1||1,550,000|
|Nov 4, 1995||Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield III||Bowe wins by TKO in round 8||650,000|
|Mar 16, 1996||Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson II||Tyson wins by TKO in round 3||1,370,000|
|Sep 7, 1996||Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson||Tyson wins by TKO in round 1||1,150,000|
|Nov 9, 1996||Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield||Holyfield wins by TKO in round 11||1,590,000|
|Apr 12, 1997||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Pernell Whitaker||De La Hoya wins by UD (115–111, 116–110, 116–110)||720,000|
|Jun 28, 1997||Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II||Holyfield wins by DQ in round 3||1,990,000|
|Jan 16, 1999||Mike Tyson vs. Francois Botha||Tyson wins by KO in round 5||750,000|
|Mar 13, 1999||Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis||Draw (116–113, 113–115, 115–115)||1,200,000|
|Sep 18, 1999||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Félix Trinidad||Trinidad wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114)||1,400,000|
|Nov 13, 1999||Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis II||Lewis wins by UD (116–112, 117–111, 115–113)||850,000|
|Oct 20, 2000||Mike Tyson vs. Andrew Golota||Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 (later changed to a no contest)||450,000|
|Nov 11, 2000||Lennox Lewis vs. David Tua||Lewis wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 117–111)||420,000|
|Jun 8, 2002||Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson||Lewis wins by KO in round 8||1,970,000|
|Sep 14, 2002||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas||De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 11||935,000|
|Feb 22, 2003||Mike Tyson vs. Clifford Etienne||Tyson wins by KO in round 1||100,000|
|Mar 1, 2003||John Ruiz vs. Roy Jones, Jr.||Jones wins by UD (118–110, 117–111, 116–112)||602,000|
|Sep 13, 2003||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley II||Mosley wins by UD (113–115, 113–115, 113–115)||950,000|
|Sep 18, 2004||Bernard Hopkins vs. Oscar De La Hoya||Hopkins wins by KO in round 9||1,000,000|
|May 6, 2006||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Ricardo Mayorga||De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 6||925,000|
|May 5, 2007||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather||Mayweather wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115)||2,520,000|
|Dec 8, 2007||Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton||Mayweather wins by TKO in round 10||920,000|
|Dec 6, 2008||Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao||Pacquiao wins by RTD in round 8||1,250,000|
|May 2, 2009||Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao||Pacquiao wins by KO in round 2||850,000|
|Sep 19, 2009||Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Márquez||Mayweather wins by UD (120–107, 119–108, 118–109)||1,100,000|
|Nov 14, 2009||Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto||Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 12||1,200,000|
|Mar 13, 2010||Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey||Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 119–109, 120–108)||700,000|
|May 1, 2010||Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley||Mayweather wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 119–109)||1,400,000|
|Nov 13, 2010||Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito||Pacquiao wins by UD (120–108, 118–110, 119–109)||1,150,000|
|May 7, 2011||Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley||Pacquiao wins by UD (119–108, 120–108, 120–107)||1,300,000|
|Sep 17, 2011||Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz||Mayweather wins by KO in round 4||1,250,000|
|Nov 13, 2011||Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III||Pacquiao wins by MD (115–113, 114–114, 116–112)||1,450,000|
|May 5, 2012||Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto||Mayweather wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 118–110)||1,500,000|
|Jun 9, 2012||Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley||Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 115–113, 115–113)||700,000|
|Sep 15, 2012||Sergio Martínez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr.||Martínez wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 117–110)||475,000|
|Dec 8, 2012||Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV||Márquez wins by KO in round 6||1,150,000|
|May 4, 2013||Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero||Mayweather wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 117–111)||870,000|
|Sept 14, 2013||Floyd Mayweather vs. Saúl Álvarez||Mayweather wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114)||2,200,000|
UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a relative newcomer on the pay-per-view scene, matched the once-dominant World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. in pay-per-view revenues during 2006 and surpassed boxing titan HBO. The three companies make up the bulk of the pay-per-view business. According to Deana Myers, a senior analyst at Kagan Research LLC (which tracks the PPV industry), "UFC has reinvigorated the pay-per-view category."
The highest buy rates for the UFC as of November 2012[update] are as follows:
Note: The UFC does not release official PPV statistics, and the following PPV numbers are as reported by industry insiders.
In Canada, First Choice offers pay-per-view services through various Canadian satellite TV and digital cable television-providers, including Rogers Digital Cable, Shaw Direct, and MTS. Prices range from C$5.99 (for movies) up to $20 or more for special events. Bell TV delivers its own pay-per-view service, Vu!, to its satellite subscribers. Prices range from $4.99 up to $20 or more for special events. It also runs Venus, an adult pay-per-view service, to its satellite subscribers for $9.99 per movie.
Viewers in the United Kingdom can access pay-per-view via satellite, cable and over-the-internet television services, mainly for films – with services such as Sky Box Office. Broadcasters (most notably PremPlus) have largely abandoned their aspirations to introduce PPV into the sports market due to poor take-up; as of 2009[update] it carries only occasional boxing matches and half of the WWE PPV events, with the other half shown on Sky Sports.
Started in Late 90's, Canalsat (Ciné+) and TPS (Multivision) launch their own PPV Service. While CanalSat has got rights for Live Soccer Matches for France's Ligue 1, TPS had the rights for Boxe matches. In 2007, Multivision service ceased by the end of TPS service which merged with Canalsat. Nowadays, Ciné+ is the only existing PPV service in France.
Australia and the Pacific Islands
Foxtel and Optus Vision introduced pay-per-view direct to home television in Australia in the mid-to-late 1990s. Foxtel had Event TV (until it transformed into its current form; Main Event) while, Optus Vision had Main Attraction Pay-Per-View as its provider. As of 2005, Main Event is the current Pay-Per-View provider through Foxtel and Optus cable/satellite subscription.
Sky Pacific started a service in Fiji and in other Pacific Island nations[which?] in 2006.
SkyPerfecTV subscribers can receive one-click pay-per-view access to hundreds of channels supplying domestic and international sporting events (including WWE events), movies, and specialty programming, either live or later on continuous repeat on its channel.
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