They were a couple of Pay per view strategies.
1. Streaming Video rental. - Before the day of internet streaming whenever you wanted it. Cable companies take moves after DVD/VHS release would in essence have it scrambled on a few channels until someone purchased it. Then they can watch the show within hours. Convenient if you didn't want to leave your home to to go the video rental place of if you didn't live near one, or the times mostly align.
2. Live Events. Boxing in particular was popular. As Boxing for the most part had limited appeal to the overall public, and there isn't much time for commercial breaks, as well the length of a match wasn't easy to be fixed. So a PPV Live Event was profitable and convenient as it didn't need to rearrange your schedule and have backup B-Shows ready once it is done.