The WWE sent shockwaves throughout the television and entertainment industry, and put smiles on the faces of wrestling fans everywhere when it announced the details of its new network at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Wednesday night.
WWE Network will be a 24/7 online streaming service that will include a vast video library of past wrestling shows and moments and every live pay-per-view. That, plus original content will only cost fans $9.99 per month with a six-month commitment. The network is scheduled to launch Feb. 24 at 11:06 p.m. ET.
Although it took WWE three years to get to this point, it looks to be the best-case scenario for all involved. The WWE Network should be a big win for the company and may set a standard for future companies looking to launch their version.
There are a number of reasons why the WWE Network should be successful. Let’s break it down piece by piece:
WWE is keeping up with the Joneses
Believe it or not, WWE Network isn’t as mind-blowing as some may think. Although it is the first company to use a streaming service as an entire channel or network, the technology for that to happen already exists. And has existed for quite some time.
Prime examples of this are Netflix and Hulu, which allow you stream movies and television programs for a monthly fee. With that model already in place, WWE had something to base it’s own network off of. All it had to do from there was provide the amount of content to warrant a monthly subscription.
That is not an issue. The WWE essentially owns the history of wrestling as it owns the tape libraries of World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance and a slew of other wrestling promotions throughout history such as the American Wrestling Association and World Class Championship Wrestling.
Having a 24/7 streaming service doesn’t just make sense for the here and now, but for the future. With this model, the WWE has assured itself that it won’t get left behind.
The traditional cable and satellite industry is on the decline
One of the biggest hold-ups with the WWE Network was that it was unable to find a cable or satellite provider that was willing to carry it.
It turns out that may have been a blessing in disguise.
The cable and satellite industry is on the decline. It’s not necessarily a sharp decline, but it is a decline nonetheless.
More and more people are ditching cable wires and satellite dishes for Roku boxes and smart televisions, which come with Netflix and Hulu applications.
A cheap Roku box can cost people about $40. Add $8.99 for a Netflix subscription and $7.99 for a Hulu subscription and you’re talking about a pretty inexpensive way to still get your fill of movies and television shows.
While those streaming devices and applications are proving more and more affordable, the cable industry is getting more and more expensive, which is giving people a serious decision to make.
WWE cut out the middleman
When the WWE first came up with the idea of the network, it wanted to rely on cable and satellite companies to carry it. It was a more traditional route to the likes of NFL Network and NBA TV.
Although traditional and successful for some, it still presented its share of cons. Firstly, the WWE would have to split whatever profit it made of subscriptions with the company that decided to carry it.
Secondly, it would more than likely limit the amount of people who could actually subscribe to the network. Let’s say, for instance, that Time Warner decided to give WWE a shot with the network. More than likely, Time Warner would have been alone in that decision while the other cable companies sat back to see how successful it could be before signing on themselves.
Well, not everyone has Time Warner cable. Not everyone could watch NFL Network when it first launched and the same would have likely happened with WWE Network. It would have proved very difficult to get people to switch their entire cable or satellite provider based off one network. Also, people are typically wary of adding money to a bill that is already pretty expensive.
With the way the WWE Network has been set up, the WWE doesn’t have to worry about who is able to subscribe and who isn’t. As long as you have Internet, which the majority of households in the United States do, you are able to subscribe without any red tape getting in the way.
Because the WWE does not have to split the pie with a cable or satellite provider, all of the money that will be made off the network will go straight to the company, or at least a majority of it.
It is a tremendous value for fans
This is probably the biggest reason the WWE Network will work: it is an absolute bargain for what fans will be receiving Feb. 24.
The biggest seller for me personally is access to all 12 pay-per-views, including WrestleMania. For $9.99 per month over the course of six months, fans will receive six pay-per-views for the price of essentially one.
If fans re-up and sign on for another six months, fans will receive all 12 for essentially the price of two. All 12 pay-per-views in standard definition would cost $600. That’s just for standard definition. With WWE Network, you will receive all 12 for roughly $120 — less than a third of the normal cost.
That’s enough for most people. Then fans will get all of the other content that comes with it.
Fans will get access to the various video libraries, original programming and re-airs of Raw and Smackdown. I’m not sure fans could really complain about any of that. What more could you possibly want? WWE could offer all of that for $19.99 per month and fans would still be saving money in the end.
In closing, the WWE didn’t all of a sudden become geniuses for coming with this model for the network. When it you break it all down and consider the technology that is available to the majority of American households — and have been for quite some time — it was the most logical decision. It was almost a no-brainer.
It’s saving WWE, but most importantly, saving the fans a lot of money.