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.
North America 
United States 
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[disambiguation needed], 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.
HBO PPV 
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 dollars 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
HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg calls the expansion of pay-per-view "the biggest economic issue in boxing" and says:
"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."
Heavyweight buy rates 
|#1||Evander Holyfield||vs.||Mike Tyson||II||1,990,000||June 28, 1997|
|#2||Lennox Lewis||vs.||Mike Tyson||1,970,000||June 8, 2002|
|#3||Mike Tyson||vs.||Evander Holyfield||1,590,000||November 9, 1996|
|#4||Mike Tyson||vs.||Peter McNeeley||1,550,000||August 19, 1995|
|#5||Evander Holyfield||vs.||George Foreman||1,400,000||April 19, 1991|
|#6||Frank Bruno||vs.||Mike Tyson||II||1,370,000||March 16, 1996|
|#7||Mike Tyson||vs.||Donovan Ruddock||II||1,250,000||June 28, 1991|
|#8||Evander Holyfield||vs.||Lennox Lewis||1,200,000||March 13, 1999|
|#9||Bruce Seldon||vs.||Mike Tyson||1,150,000||September 7, 1996|
|#10||Evander Holyfield||vs.||Lennox Lewis||II||850,000||November 18, 1999|
|#11||Mike Tyson||vs.||Francois Botha||750,000||January 16, 1999|
Non-heavyweight buy rates 
|#1||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Floyd Mayweather||2,500,000||May 5, 2007|
|#2||Floyd Mayweather||vs.||Miguel Cotto||1,500,000||May 5, 2012|
|#3||Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Juan Manuel Márquez||III||1,450,000||November 13, 2011|
|#4||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Félix Trinidad||1,400,000||September 18, 1999|
|Floyd Mayweather||vs.||Shane Mosley||1,400,000||May 1, 2010|
|#5||Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Shane Mosley||1,340,000||May 7, 2011|
|#6||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Manny Pacquiao||1,250,000||December 6, 2008|
|Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Miguel Cotto||1,250,000||November 14, 2009|
|Floyd Mayweather||vs.||Victor Ortiz||1,250,000||September 17, 2011|
|#7||Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Antonio Margarito||1,150,000||November 13, 2010|
|Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Juan Manuel Márquez||IV||1,150,000||December 8, 2012|
|#8||Floyd Mayweather||vs.||Juan Manuel Márquez||1,100,000||September 19, 2009|
|#9||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Bernard Hopkins||1,000,000||September 18, 2004|
|#10||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Shane Mosley||II||950,000||September 13, 2003|
|#11||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Fernando Vargas||935,000||September 14, 2002|
|#12||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Ricardo Mayorga||925,000||May 6, 2006|
|#13||Floyd Mayweather||vs.||Ricky Hatton||920,000||December 8, 2007|
|#14||Ricky Hatton||vs.||Manny Pacquiao||850,000||May 2, 2009|
|#15||Oscar De La Hoya||vs.||Pernell Whitaker||720,000||April 12, 1997|
|#17||Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Timothy Bradley||700,000||June 9, 2012|
|#16||Manny Pacquiao||vs.||Joshua Clottey||660,000||March 13, 2010|
|#18||Miguel Cotto||vs.||Antonio Margarito||II||600,000||December 3, 2011|
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.
|1||Jul 11, 2009||UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir 2||1,300,000|
|2||Jul 3, 2010||UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin||1,160,000|
|3||Mar 16, 2013||UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz||1,100,000|
|4||Dec 30, 2006||UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz 2||1,050,000|
|-||May 29, 2010||UFC 114: Rampage vs. Evans||1,050,000|
|-||Oct 23, 2010||UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez||1,050,000|
|7||Nov 15, 2008||UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar||1,010,000|
|8||Dec 27, 2008||UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008||1,000,000|
|9||Jul 7, 2012||UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II||925,000|
|10||Jan 31, 2009||UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2||920,000|
|11||Aug 8, 2009||UFC 101: Declaration||850,000|
|-||Mar 27, 2010||UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy||850,000|
|13||Apr 30, 2011||UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields||800,000|
|-||Dec 11, 2010||UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2||800,000|
|-||Dec 30, 2011||UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem||800,000|
|16||Jul 8, 2006||UFC 61: Bitter Rivals||775,000|
|17||Feb 5, 2011||UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort||750,000|
|18||Dec 29, 2007||UFC 79: Nemesis||700,000|
|-||Apr 21, 2012||UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans||700,000|
|-||Nov 17, 2012||UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit||700,000|
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.
United Kingdom 
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.
See also 
- FCC Squares Off to Face Subscription TV Dilemma", Broadcasting-Telecasting, November 15, 1954, p31-32
- Mullen, Megan Gwynne (2003). The Rise of Cable Programming in the United States: revolution or evolution?. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-75273-3.
- Steve Seepersaud. "Money in Boxing: The Pay-Per-View Craze". Ca.askmen.com. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- "PayPerView.com – WWE Online Pay-Per-View". Whois.domaintools.com. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- "Mayweather-Hatton pay-per-view a smashing success". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- Credit ESPN Boxing: link needs updating
- The Boxing Scene By Thomas Hauser
- [dead link]
- Goldman, Adam. "Extreme fight on for pay-per-view crown", Associated Press, 28 February 2007.
- "Digitalb – Pay per View :: Digigold". Digitalb.al. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
- Capsule history at Museum of Broadcast Communications