Last night, WWE Chairman Vincent Kennedy McMahon and COO Paul Levesque (HHH) announced the WWE Network, a new video streaming service that can be described as a Netflix for scripted combat entertainment. The wrestling entertainment company will offer up an archive of Pay Per Views, DVD specials, countdown specials, reality series and access to every single new WWE PPV (that includes Wrestlemania) for just $9.99 per month.
There is a small catch for all that goodness: you’ll have to commit to 6 months’ worth of service. That said, it’s not really a big deal if you consider the savings you’ll see on content. WWE pay-per-views cost anywhere between $50 and $60 per month, with the big stage of Wrestlemania often coming in at around $70. If you were one to subscribe to these pay-per-views on a frequent basis, you’ll have gotten all of your money’s worth in no time.
Because the WWE Network is operated within WWE’s own domains (they’re delivering the content to you via the web, Android and iOS apps, as well as connected devices such as gaming consoles and media streaming boxes) they’ll have full control over their own content. That means they can show what they want to show with no censorship. That might not mean much for the PG era that we’re suffering today, but it’s great for those who want to relive the glory days of the Attitude era without any blindfolds on.
This is a very interesting move by the WWE in a time where the trend is to offer goods up for a low monthly fee rather than a high one-time payment. That model has even already extended to software on desktop PCs, with the likes of Adobe and Microsoft offering up their design and productivity suites with this pricing model. It’s easier to sell people on software for a low monthly cost than to ask them to pay $400 to $600 upfront.
It also says a lot about the WWE’s vision for having their own cable network. It’s been long rumored that the WWE Network would be a channel on traditional cable TV, but Vinnie Mac likely didn’t favor the issues that come with pricing negotiations. To its credit, the WWE has gained a big enough following that they could try something like this on their own, so it’ll be interesting to see just how big this thing can get over the course of the next year.
The WWE Network will launch in America on most devices February 24th. Don’t check now, but that’s the day after the Elimination Chamber PPV (meaning you’ll have to spend $50 to $60 on that one last hoorah before getting a shot at the buffet). Those in other regions are told to be patient, as WWE will have to take a bit of time to get up and running in other countries over the course of the next two years.