Wrestling Into The Future – WWE Network A No Brainer?

WWE NetworkFor years now we’ve been hearing rumblings about the WWE Network. Would it be a cable channel?  Would it be a streaming service?  We finally have the details about the network, what it’s going to be, when it will launch and from a wrestling fan’s perspective… how damn awesome it will be!

WWE Network will be a 24/7 streaming network which will include original content, archive content from WWE, WCW, AWA, ECW (and others), RAW and SmackDown pre-shows and ALL 12 PAY-PER-VIEW EVENTS!

Starting on 2.24.2014, users will be able to purchase a monthly subscription to the WWE Network for only $9.99 / month with a 6 month commitment.

So What’s The Catch?

Honestly, I’m not seeing one.  This seems like an absolute no brainer.  I normally purchase 2 PPVs a year: The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.  The Rumble (and I think all other PPVs other than WrestleMania) are $49.99 for the HD version of the show. The HD version of WrestleMania is $64.95.  So in previous years I’m spending $115 on WWE programming.  For $5 more, I can watch all 12 PPVs plus all the archive content and everything else the network will be offering.  To take a word from my 5 year old… “Duh”.

There have been rumblings that some satellite providers (DirecTV) are planning on dropping WWE PPV events.  I don’t know all of what goes into offering a PPV, but in my uninformed opinion this would be pretty stupid.  Even if providers such a DirecTV, DISH, etc. will see decreases in PPV revenue with the launch of the WWE Network, which let’s face it WILL happen, they’re still able to print money based on Vince McMahon’s empire.

I honestly think Vince has once again changed the entertainment business and it will only be a matter of time before we see similar treatment for major sports.  Sure… we’ve already got the NFL Network, but I’m envisioning a time where you’ll be able to purchase a package to watch all of your favorite teams right on your device.  The technology is there, WWE is going to perfect it and everyone else is going to jump on board.

When To Get It

It’ll be available on 2.24.2104 which means the first PPV that you’ll be able to watch on the WWE Network will be WrestleMania XXX.  This scares me a bit as there are bound to be glitches.  I’d hate to NOT be able to watch the show so in all likelihood I’ll not only sign up for the Network, but ALSO purchase the PPV through DISH.  And naturally this is what the WWE wants.  So now instead of my normal $115, I’ll be paying $235 this year.  I think it’s a small price to pay for the security of knowing that I’ll be able to watch the show and build The Beeramid without any interruption.

However… I’m guessing by the time WrestleMania 31 rolls around, they’ll have ironed out any technical glitches with the WWE Network and I’ll be watching all the PPVs in HD glory via my Apple TV.

All jokes about being a “rasslin fan” aside, this network is going to be huge. Whether you like wrestling or not, you’ve got to stand back in awe at the BUSINESS Vince McMahon has built.  He’s once again on the cutting edge of technology and while it’s super irritating to hear the announcers talk constantly about the WWE App, Vince and his folks know that there has been a fundamental shift in the way we get our news and entertainment these days. And the WWE is leading the way.

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2 Comments

  1. What a smart move by the WWE! Granted it was born out of necessity as I highly doubt they would have gotten much carriage from the cable companies. But, they’re taking the opportunity to launch the channel their way with their control. I do think the price point is a bit too high for most “average” fans, but I think that will depend on the context that people think of it. If they’re buying enough of the PPV’s to offset the cost, it’s a no brainer. The success is mostly going to lie in the promotion of it (meaning on air during Raw, Smackdown and their PPV’s). Their On Demand subscription package was not promoted well on air and didn’t get a lot of subscribers (in my experience). I used to have it and didn’t watch it very often. I’m curious how they’ll package their programming…is it streaming or can you watch what you want at any given time?

    Overall, I think this will be much more successful, and likely better financially, than going the cable route.

  2. Jeremy, it is both streaming and ondemand. There will be a schedule that you can jump in and watch what is playing, but there will also be an ondemand section where you can watch the back catalog.

    All of the new content from the streaming network will instantly be added to the ondemand catalog. New Raws and Smackdowns will be added to ondemand 24 hours after airing.

    Greg, I wouldn’t worry too much about glitches during the first PPV, they’ve offered the PPVs view stream for a long time now without much issue.

    I think this all sounds great, but I’m not sure I’m going to buy it. I’m too casual of a fan, but it is really tempting. I’m not currently a PPV buyer, but they have me interested in doing this. I think that is where they get the value.

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