Pay-per-view

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Not to be confused with pay television.

Pay-per-view (PPV) is a type of pay television service by which a subscriber of a television service provider 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 other entertainment programs.

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

The Zenith Phonevision system became the first pay-per-view system to be tested in the United States. Developed in 1951, it used telephone lines to take and receive orders, as well as to descramble a television broadcast signal. The field tests conducted for Phonevision lasted for 90 days and were tested in Chicago, Illinois. The system used IBM punch cards to descramble a signal broadcast during the broadcast station's "off-time". Both systems showed promise, but the Federal Communications Commission denied them the permits to operate.[1]

One of the earliest pay-per-view systems on cable television, the Optical Systems-developed Channel 100, first began service in 1972 in San Diego, California through Mission Cable[2] (which was later 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 pay television services such as Home Box Office (HBO) became popular.

Boxing was first introduced to pay-per-view with the "Thrilla In Manila" fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in September 1975 (which was also transmitted through HBO); there was also another major title fight aired on pay-per-view 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.[3][4]

A major pay-per-view event[citation needed] occurred on September 16, 1981, when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas "Hitman" Hearns for the World Welterweight Championship. Viacom Cablevision in Nashville, Tennessee – the first system to offer the event – saw over 50 percent of its subscriber base purchase the fight.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Viacom marketing director Pat Thompson put together the fight, and subsequently put together additional PPV fights, wrestling matches and even a televised Broadway play.[citation needed]

After leaving Viacom, Thompson became head of Sports View and produced the first pay-per-view football game on October 16, 1983, a college football game between the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama from Birmingham, Alabama.[citation needed] Sports View played a role in building pay-per-view networks,[citation needed] and became the early pioneer in developing TigerVision for Louisiana State University, TideVision for Alabama and UT Vol Seat for Tennessee. Sports View also produced the Ohio State-Michigan football game for pay-per-view in November 1983.

In 1985, the first pay-per-view cable channels in the United States – Viewer's Choice (now In Demand), Cable Video Store, First Choice and Request TV – began operation within days of each other.[citation needed] Viewer's Choice serviced both home satellite dish and cable customers, while Request TV, though broadcasting to cable viewers, would not become available to satellite subscribers until the 1990s.[citation needed] First Choice PPV was available on Rogers Cablesystems in the United States and Canada. After Paragon Cable acquired the Rogers Cablesystems franchise in San Antonio, Texas, First Choice continued to be carried until Time Warner Cable bought Paragon in 1996. In the United States, pay-per-view broadcasters transmit without advertisements, similar to conventional flat-rate pay television services.

The term "pay-per-view" did not come into general use until the late 1980s[citation needed] when companies such as Viewer's Choice, HBO and Showtime started using the system to show movies and some of their productions. Viewer's Choice carried movies, concerts and other events, with live sporting events such as WrestleMania being the most predominant programming. Prices ranged from $3.99 to $49.99, while HBO and Showtime, with their event production legs TVKO and SET Pay Per View, would offer championship boxing matches ranging from $14.99 to $54.99.[citation needed]

ESPN later began to televise college football and basketball games on pay-per-view through its services ESPN Gameplan and ESPN Full Court, which were eventually sold as full-time out-of-market sports packages.[citation needed] The boxing undercard Latin Fury, shown on June 28, 2003, became ESPN's first boxing card on pay-per-view and also the first pay-per-view boxing card held in Puerto Rico.[citation needed] Pay-per-view has provided a revenue stream for professional wrestling circuits such as WWE, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Ring of Honor (ROH) and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA).

WWE chairman and chief executive officer Vince McMahon is considered by many as one of the icons of pay-per-view promotion. McMahon owns the rights to payperview.com, which redirects to the WWE website.[5]

HBO PPV[edit]

In 2006, HBO generated 3.7 million pay-per-view buys with $177 million in gross sales. The only year with more buys previously, 1999, had a total of 4 million. The former record fell in 2007 when HBO sold 4.8 million PPV buys with $255 million in sales.[6]

1999 differed radically from 2006: 1999 saw four major fight cards: De La Hoya-Trinidad (1.4 million buys), Holyfield-Lewis I (1.2 million), 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 that year 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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,[citation needed] has "sold" approximately 12.8 million units in total, giving $612 million in domestic television receipts.[citation needed] 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[citation needed][7]

Ross Greenburg, then president of HBO Sports, called the expansion of pay-per-view "the biggest economic issue in boxing", stating "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."[8]

"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."[8]

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."[9]


Boxing[edit]

Select HBO/Showtime PPV boxing buy-rates between 1988 and 2014:

Date Fight Result Buy rate
Jun 27, 1988 Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks Tyson wins by KO in round 1 700,000[10]
Oct 25, 1990 Buster Douglas vs. Evander Holyfield Holyfield wins by KO in round 3 1,000,000[10]
Jun 28, 1991 Mike Tyson vs. Donovan Ruddock Tyson wins by TKO in round 7 957,000[11]
Apr 19, 1991 Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman Holyfield wins by UD (116–111, 117–110, 115–112) 1,400,000[12]
Oct 18, 1991 Ray Mercer vs. Tommy Morrison Mercer wins by KO in round 5 200,000[13]
Jun 28, 1991 Mike Tyson vs. Donovan Ruddock II Tyson wins by UD (113–109, 114–108, 114–108) 1,250,000[14]
Jun 19, 1992 Evander Holyfield vs. Larry Holmes Holyfield wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112) 730,000[15]
Nov 13, 1992 Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe Bowe wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 115–112) 900,000[16]
Jun 7, 1993 George Foreman vs. Tommy Morrison Morrison wins by UD (117–110, 117–110, 118–108) 600,000[17]
Nov 6, 1993 Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield II Holyfield wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114) 950,000[18]
Nov 18, 1994 James Toney vs. Roy Jones, Jr. Jones wins by UD (119–108, 118–109, 117–110) 300,000[19]
May 6, 1995 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Rafael Ruelas De La Hoya wins by TKO in Round 2 330,000[20]
Aug 19, 1995 Mike Tyson vs. Peter McNeeley Tyson wins by DQ in round 1 1,550,000[12]
Nov 4, 1995 Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield III Bowe wins by TKO in round 8 650,000[21]
Mar 16, 1996 Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson II Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 1,370,000[12]
Sep 7, 1996 Bruce Seldon vs. Mike Tyson Tyson wins by TKO in round 1 1,150,000[12]
Nov 9, 1996 Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield Holyfield wins by TKO in round 11 1,590,000[12]
Apr 12, 1997 Pernell Whitaker vs. Oscar De La Hoya De La Hoya wins by UD (115–111, 116–110, 116–110) 720,000[22]
Jun 28, 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II Holyfield wins by DQ in round 3 1,990,000[12]
Sep 13, 1997 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Hector Camacho De La Hoya wins by UD (120–106, 120–105, 118–108) 560,000[22]
Nov 8, 1997 Evander Holyfield vs. Michael Moorer II Holyfield wins by RTD in round 8 550,000[23]
Jan 16, 1999 Mike Tyson vs. Francois Botha Tyson wins by KO in round 5 750,000[24]
Mar 13, 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis Draw (116–113, 113–115, 115–115) 1,200,000[25]
Sep 18, 1999 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Félix Trinidad Trinidad wins by MD (115–113, 115–114, 114–114) 1,400,000[12]
Nov 13, 1999 Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis II Lewis wins by UD (116–112, 117–111, 115–113) 850,000[25]
Apr 29, 2000 Lennox Lewis vs. Michael Grant Lewis wins by KO in round 2 340,000[25]
Jun 17, 2000 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley Mosley wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115) 590,000[22]
Sep 9, 2000 Roy Jones, Jr. vs. Eric Harding Jones wins by RTD in round 10 125,000[26]
Oct 20, 2000 Mike Tyson vs. Andrew Golota Tyson wins by TKO in round 3 (later changed to a no contest) 450,000[27]
Nov 11, 2000 Lennox Lewis vs. David Tua Lewis wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 117–111) 420,000[25]
Mar 3, 2001 Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz Ruiz wins by UD (116–110, 115–111, 114–111) 185,000[28]
Apr 7, 2001 Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Naseem Hamed Barrera wins by UD (116–111, 115–112, 115–112) 310,000[29]
Jun 8, 2002 Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson Lewis wins by KO in round 8 1,970,000[12]
Sep 14, 2002 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 11 935,000[22]
Feb 22, 2003 Mike Tyson vs. Clifford Etienne Tyson wins by KO in round 1 100,000[28]
Mar 1, 2003 John Ruiz vs. Roy Jones, Jr. Jones wins by UD (118–110, 117–111, 116–112) 525,000[28]
Sep 13, 2003 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Shane Mosley II Mosley wins by UD (113–115, 113–115, 113–115) 950,000[22]
Oct 4, 2003 James Toney vs. Evander Holyfield Toney wins by TKO in round 9 150,000[30]
Nov 8, 2003 Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones, Jr. Jones wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) 302,000[31]
May 15, 2004 Roy Jones, Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver II Tarver wins by KO in round 2 360,000[32]
Sep 18, 2004 Bernard Hopkins vs. Oscar De La Hoya Hopkins wins by KO in round 9 1,000,000[22]
Dec 11, 2004 Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams Klitschko wins by TKO in round 8 120,000[33]
Jun 11, 2005 Mike Tyson vs. Kevin McBride McBride wins by TKO in round 7 250,000[34]
Oct 1, 2005 Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones, Jr. III Tarver wins by UD (117–111, 116–112, 116–112) 405,000[35]
May 6, 2006 Ricardo Mayorga vs. Oscar De La Hoya De La Hoya wins by TKO in round 6 925,000[36]
May 5, 2007 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Mayweather wins by SD (116–112, 115–113, 113–115) 2,400,000[12]
Dec 8, 2007 Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton Mayweather wins by TKO in round 10 920,000[37]
Dec 6, 2008 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao Pacquiao wins by RTD in round 8 1,250,000[12]
May 2, 2009 Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao Pacquiao wins by KO in round 2 825,000[38]
Sep 19, 2009 Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Márquez Mayweather wins by UD (120–107, 119–108, 118–109) 1,060,000[37]
Nov 14, 2009 Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto Pacquiao wins by TKO in round 12 1,250,000[39]
Mar 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 119–109, 120–108) 700,000[40]
May 1, 2010 Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley Mayweather wins by UD (119–109, 118–110, 119–109) 1,400,000[12]
Nov 13, 2010 Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Pacquiao wins by UD (120–108, 118–110, 119–109) 1,150,000[41]
May 7, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley Pacquiao wins by UD (119–108, 120–108, 120–107) 1,300,000[42]
Sep 17, 2011 Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz Mayweather wins by KO in round 4 1,250,000[43]
Nov 13, 2011 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III Pacquiao wins by MD (115–113, 114–114, 116–112) 1,250,000[44]
May 5, 2012 Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto Mayweather wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 118–110) 1,500,000[45]
Jun 9, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 115–113, 115–113) 890,000[46]
Sep 15, 2012 Sergio Martínez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr. Martínez wins by UD (118–109, 118–109, 117–110) 475,000[47]
Dec 8, 2012 Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV Márquez wins by KO in round 6 1,150,000[44]
May 4, 2013 Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero Mayweather wins by UD (117–111, 117–111, 117–111) 875,000[48]
Sept 14, 2013 Floyd Mayweather vs. Saúl Álvarez Mayweather wins by MD (117–111, 116–112, 114–114) 2,200,000[14]
Oct 12, 2013 Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Márquez Bradley wins by SD (115–113, 116–112, 113–115) 375,000[49]
Nov 24, 2013 Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios Pacquiao wins by UD (119–109, 120–108, 118–110) 475,000[50]
Mar 8, 2014 Saúl Álvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo Alvarez wins by TKO in Round 10 350,000[51]
Apr 12, 2014 Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II Pacquiao wins by UD (116–112, 116–112, 118–110) 800,000[52]
May 3, 2014 Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos René Maidana I Mayweather wins by MD (114–114, 117–111, 116–112) 850,000[53]
Jun 7, 2014 Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martínez Cotto wins by RTD in round 10 315,000[54]

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship)[edit]

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."[55]

The highest buy rates for the UFC as of June 2014 are as follows:

Note: The UFC does not release official PPV statistics, and the following PPV numbers are as reported by industry insiders.

No. Date Event Buy rate
1 Jul 11, 2009 UFC 100: Lesnar vs. Mir 2 1,600,000
2 Jul 3, 2010 UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin 1,160,000
3 Dec 28, 2013 UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva II 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
5 Nov 15, 2008 UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar 1,010,000
6 Dec 27, 2008 UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 1,000,000
7 Jul 7, 2012 UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II 925,000
8 Jan 31, 2009 UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2 920,000
9 Mar 16, 2013 UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz 900,000
10 Aug 8, 2009 UFC 101: Declaration 850,000
- Mar 27, 2010 UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy 850,000
12 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
15 Jul 8, 2006 UFC 61: Bitter Rivals 775,000
16 Feb 5, 2011 UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort 750,000
17 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

Canada[edit]

In Canada, most service providers provide pay-per-view programming through one or more services. Several service providers, including Shaw Cable / Shaw Direct (Shaw PPV), Bell TV (Vu!), and SaskTel operate their own in-house pay-per-view services, while others like Rogers Cable outsource these operations to an external operator such as Viewers Choice. In all cases, prices typically range from around C$4.99 (for movies) up to $20 or more for special events.

Europe[edit]

Romania[edit]

Cable communications operator UPC Romania has notified the National Audiovisual Council (CNA) on the intention to introduce in January, February 2014 at the latest, an on-demand audiovisual media service called Agerpres. According to the manager of UPC Romania-owned Smaranda Radoi UPC, will allow customers to watch movies on demand or live events; as well as broadcasts of performances, concerts and sporting events.

Albania[edit]

In November 2008, pay-per-view made its debut in Albania through Digitalb on terrestrial and satellite television, with the channel DigiGold.[56]

United Kingdom[edit]

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 it carries only occasional boxing matches and half of the WWE pay-per-view events, with the other half shown on Sky Sports.

France[edit]

Launched in the late 1990s, Canalsat (Ciné+) and TPS (Multivision) operate their own pay-per-view service. While CanalSat holds the rights to 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 pay-per-view service in France.

Australia and the Pacific Islands[edit]

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.

Malaysia[edit]

In Malaysia, Astro's Astro Box Office service launched in 2000 in the form of the free-to-air "Astro Showcase".

Japan[edit]

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.

India[edit]

In India a pay-per-view service operates, however, pay-per-view sports broadcasts are not available.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]