WWE Is Launching A Streaming Online Network; Will Provide All PPVs For $10 A Month

People tend to have certain opinions about professional wrestling, often disparaging ones, but you can't deny that the multi-faceted company known as the WWE doesn't have a little innovation in them. They're never truly first to the game, but they always dominate at what they do. Think about the celebrity crossovers they've had in years past, what they've done for pay-per-view, the moves on Twitter engagement that preceded any major pushes to social media.

Now, they're doing it again, and much like you'd expect the leading professional wrestling company to do, they're doing it loudly and with flair. On Wednesday, some familiar faces from the company took the stage at CES in Las Vegas to unveil the WWE Network, the long expected and overdue 24 hour channel dedicated to pro wrestling present and past, set to launch on February 24th, 2014, following that night's edition of Monday Night Raw, online and streaming for all fans on various devices for $9.99 a month (with a six month commitment required).

That in and of itself sounds like a great deal if you're a wrestling fan. But even if you're not, even if the idea of men wrestling each other oiled up in shorts repulses you, it's hard to deny how over the top the WWE has gone with this deal.

You'll get everything you'd expect from something like this, including classic PPVs (note: ALL WWE, WCW and ECW PPVs) and specials, but the company will also provide exclusive content including scripted and studio shows, as well as every pay-per-view on the calendar included in the cost. So basically for $60, the price of one pay-per-view, you'll get six, as well as all WWE shows streaming for that period after they initially air on TV, including Raw and Friday Night Smackdown.

That's not just a great deal, it's an insane deal that could only come from a company run by a nut like Vince McMahon.

It may seem like they're sacrificing a lot of pay-per-view revenue, but don't be so sure. The biggest problem right now for WWE is illegal PPV streams and downloads, and that's been indicating for a while that their television model has been failing. They've recognized that their future is online with all these pushes into apps, social media and online content, and they're taking advantage of it. While these shows will continue to be available at PPV and the people who buy them might still buy them to get the home theater experience (not to mention movie theater showings which tend to be full most of the time, and other viewing venues like bars), but those who stream and download illegally might be tempted to change their ways for such a sweet deal.

Here's what WWE is officially saying will be part of the service, via their FAQ:

Quote:

WWE Network is a 24/7 streaming service with both scheduled programming and an on-demand library. WWE Network will include all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events including WrestleMania 30, groundbreaking original series, reality shows and documentaries, and the most comprehensive video-on-demand library featuring all WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-views and classic matches uncut and uncensored as well as replays of Raw and SmackDown episodes. Additional programming, including a live daily studio show coming this summer, and video-on-demand content will be added regularly.

Much like Netflix, the service will stream online to a bevy of devices as well as through streaming on your computer, including PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 (with Xbox One coming in the summer), iOS, Android and Kindle devices, Roku and some smart TVs.

This is all an amazing deal, but the real meat of it comes in the form of what it might say about the future of television. Like it or not, WWE is a big part of the TV landscape and has been part of the network and cable model for years. They recognized this by aiming to bring the WWE Network to television, but had trouble finding a home for it via cable providers in a very public story these last couple of years, despite how great the idea of a wrestling-specific network was to many fans. It's clear that the dying cable model doesn't want them, and now, the WWE doesn't want them back. This is a bold move to make, and one that could very well define the future of television content if people are willing to pay for it (and something tells me they will).

Of course, like everything, we'll have to wait and see how it pans out in February, so for now, check out highlights from the announcement below:



Comments 4
Tylerr Rietze's picture

Amazing deal, really. But the numbers could work. Apparently if like 5 million people subscribe, these WWE Network subscriptions would equal or surpass their 2012 earnings. I think either much less than 5 million, or many more will sign up.

George Prax's picture

Yeah but you have to factor in those who will no longer buy PPVs. Let's say you're someone who buys every PPV at $60, that's 60x12 = 720. They're only going to get $120 out of that person with the network, so a negative loss of $500 for that customer.Not to mention the added cost of all those servers. If 5 million people are watching Wrestlemania online that's a lot of server power needed.

But I'd imagine a lot of people who buy PPVs will either still want the more secure feed, or spend that extra dough on the shop. The real factor is the people who stream or download illegally and if they'd be willing to switch over at that price, which I'm guessing for many (but not all) is yes.

Rhymin Greiman's picture

Meanwhile the fans that have no way of watching PPVs in their area (my town and the surrounding 4-5 others have absolutely no PPV option with it's cable TV services) can finally get around to watching them without having to watch them in potato quality on a streaming website. I'm already paying $8 for Netflix and Hulu Plus... what's another $10? Being able to watch them on my gaming console is also a huge plus.

George Prax's picture

What kind of cable company doesn't offer PPV? That's like pure money for them. The industry is so backwards sometimes...

It's all going online now, but you have to wonder how many times "another $10" is a valid excuse. Naturally the idea is to replace cable but it starts to add up too.