WWE, a social media powerhouse, tops 100 million subscribers on YouTube

This undated photo provided by the WWE shows from left, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman in the ring during WWE Smackdown. As WWE gears up for its biggest annual premium live event in April 2024, the company continues to harness the power of its social media presence to reach its fans. A key component of that strategy is YouTube, where WWE has hit an important milestone: reaching 100 million subscribers. (Scott Brinegar/WWE via AP)

As WWE gears up for its biggest annual premium live event next month, the company continues to harness the power of its social media presence to reach its fans. A key component of that strategy is YouTube, where WWE has hit an important milestone: surpassing 100 million subscribers.

YouTube has about 2.49 billion active users currently and is the second most popular social media platform after Facebook, according to DataReportal. And 47% of all internet users around the world access YouTube monthly.

WWE, a sports entertainment company that is part of TKO Group, is also among the top 10 most subscribed YouTube channels globally, with no professional sports leagues currently in that mix. Others in the top 10 include Indian record label and film production company T-Series, Sony Entertainment Television and social media personalities MrBeast and PewDiePie.

WWE joined YouTube three years after its launch and says that the company currently has more than 81 billion lifetime views on the platform. Part of its YouTube success comes from carefully curating its content – and making sure there is a continuous flow of it. That includes highlights from its weekly television shows, Raw, Smackdown and NXT, which are immediately uploaded to the platform when the shows end. There’s also pay-per-view and premium live event archives as well as original content, including press conferences held after premium live events, WWE career retrospectives and vlogs from wrestlers.

The company has also discovered that its YouTube audience has an appetite for programs hosted by WWE wrestlers that aren’t focused on wrestling. There’s Up Up Down Down, a gaming specific YouTube channel led by wrestler Xavier Woods and Celtic Warrior Workouts, an exercise channel led by wrestler Sheamus. And its global audience gravitates to WWE Espanol, a Spanish language content channel for its fans in Latin America.

The YouTube content of WWE engages a key demographic. The company says that 35% of its views from subscribers (lifetime) comes from 18 to 24 year olds. And its YouTube audience is actively engaged, immediately seeking out content tied to its television programs and big name stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as soon as it hits the platform.

Johnson, who recently joined TKO’s board, has been making regular appearances on Smackdown leading up to WrestleMania XL. An appearance on last Friday’s show, where The Rock challenged Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins to a tag team match at WrestleMania XL against himself and Roman Reigns, currently has more than 2 million views on YouTube.

The Rock’s return to the WWE has helped get the company to the 100 million YouTube subscriber mark faster. WWE said that a press conference held in Las Vegas last month to promote WrestleMania XL that featured The Rock propelled it to more than 100,000 YouTube subscribers in one day.

Prior to The Rock’s return to WWE television in September, the company was tracking to reach the 100 million YouTube subscriber milestone in late April, according to WWE.