WWE Network

WWE Network

WWE Network
Launched February 24, 2014 (2014-02-24)
United States
August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)
140 countries
Owned by WWE
Picture format 720p HD
Slogan "It's only $9.99!"[1]
Language English And SAP
Broadcast area Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and United States
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Website .com.wwenetworkwww

WWE Network is a subscription-based video streaming service owned by WWE, using the infrastructure of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.[2] The concept was originally announced in 2011. On January 8, 2014, WWE announced the network would launch on February 24 in the United States. The company stated on July 31 that the service was expected to go live in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain and the Nordics, among other countries starting on August 12.[3] It is also expected to arrive in the United Kingdom, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan, India, China, Thailand, and Malaysia at a future date.[4] The WWE Network consists of both a 24-hour linear streaming channel and an on-demand programming library.

History

In September 2011, WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network in 2012 as a pay-tv channel.[5] WWE then conducted a survey asking people if they would pay for the WWE Network if it were a premium channel. In an email sent to WWE fans who might be interested in the WWE Network, WWE surveyed fans for their thoughts about the WWE Network airing WWE's pay-per-views to subscribers for no additional charge. The survey also noted that feature repeats of Raw and SmackDown, as well as footage from WCW, ECW, NWA, XFL, SMW, AWA and WWE movies would also make the lineup. Original programming was also noted in the survey.[6][7]

As the result of an online poll, WrestleMania Rewind was chosen as a name for a new WWE Network show on October 17, 2011.[8] The original launch date had been April 1, 2012, which would have coincided with WrestleMania XXVIII. WWE.com featured a countdown clock that would have expired on April 1, however the clock was quietly removed, and the network did not launch as advertised.[9] WWE chief marketing officer Michelle Wilson allayed fears about the future of the WWE Network, saying "There will be a WWE network in some shape or form. We are in late-stage negotiations with distributors", and confirmed that WWE Legends' House had been filmed.[10] In April 2013, WWE had switched plans and aimed to release the WWE Network as a premium pay-TV outlet, with a potential price of $15 a month.[11]

On Old School Raw in January 2014, WWE ran teasers promoting an announcement on January 8 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.[12] It was later confirmed that the announcement would concern the WWE Network.[13] At the Consumer Electronics Show on January 8, WWE revealed a comprehensive plan which would see a launch date of February 24, 2014 in the United States.[14][15][16] WWE Classics on Demand closed on January 31, 2014 to make way for the WWE Network.[17] A free trial period was offered during the week of the launch.[18] The logo initially used for the WWE Network eventually became the standard logo used by the WWE corporation in August 2014.[19]

In April 2014 ahead of WrestleMania XXX, the Network received acclaim, with the New York Times saying that WWE had "positioned themselves on the cutting edge of Internet television".[20] Later that month, the company announced that the network had 667,000 subscribers, short of the one million subscribers they needed to break even.[21] As WWE's stock fell 50% the following month, Forbes described low subscription numbers as being of "additional concern" for investors after WWE's underwhelming NBCUniversal renewal deal.[22] WWE offered a second free preview week of the WWE Network, which started July 7, in an attempt to sign new subscribers.[23] A second report released at the end of July indicated that the network had reached 700,000 subscribers.[24] WWE's goal is to reach one million subscribers by the end of 2014.[25][24]

On July 31, 2014, the company announced a 10-year, Canadian distribution deal for WWE content with Rogers Media which will see the company distribute WWE Network as a premium television service.[26] Also on that date, it was announced that the WWE Network would launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain and the Nordics, among others on August 12, with Italian, Arab, German, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian launches planned for a later date.[27][28] On October 30, 2014, in an attempt to increase subscription numbers from an announced figure of 731,000, the 6 month subscription requirement was dropped, allowing subscribers the option to cancel at any time.[29][30] WWE had planned to launch the network on November 3 in the United Kingdom, however 20 minutes prior to the launch, WWE announced that it had been indefinitely delayed.[31]

On November 26, 2014 CRTC announces the approval of the distribution in Canada to approved list of services. [32]

Programming

Original programming

Repeat/archival programming

In addition to previous editions of the original programs listed above:

Although the United States parental guidelines rating system rates most weekly WWE television programs TV-PG, the WWE Network broadcasts a wider range of content. A parental controls block is available and content rated TV-14 and TV-MA are preceded by an advisory warning. The network airs footage featuring Chris Benoit, but an advisory warning is displayed before each airing; it marks the first major airing of Benoit footage since his murder-suicide in 2007.[39] Over the Edge 1999, infamous for Owen Hart's death at the event, is also available for the first time since its original air date, however some portions of the event have been edited out of respect to the Hart wrestling family.[40] Matches called with Jesse Ventura on commentary, which have previously been dubbed over due to a 1991 lawsuit, air with the original commentary.[36]

While the network promoted on-demand airings as being unedited, some instances of expletives and all nudity are censored.[41][42]

At launch, all but one of New Jack's matches were removed from ECW pay-per-views, as was his surprise return at Heat Wave 1998, due to a combination of musical rights issues over his entrance music and the inability to remove the music without losing the original commentary audio. The deleted matches were eventually reinstated with replacement music and newly recorded Joey Styles commentary.[43] Several pay-per-views are copies of their condensed home video releases, rather than the live versions, and so are missing matches.[44]

Impact on the TV industry

In an interview with Time, Michelle D. Wilson, chief revenue and marketing officer for WWE, stated their reason for bypassing cable companies and instead only offering the WWE Network online: "Digital over-the-top offerings represent the future, and given that our passionate fans consume five times more online video content than non-WWE viewers and over-index for purchasing online subscriptions such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, we believe the time is now for a WWE Network".[45]

In response to the announcement, DirecTV issued a statement saying that they are re-evaluating whether to continue carrying WWE's pay-per-view events. Because these events would also be available on the WWE Network once it launches, it might reduce the number of pay-per-view purchases via cable and satellite providers. However, Vince McMahon suggested that pay-TV operators would ultimately decide to continue to carry WWE's pay-per-view events, given that providers keep a significant share of each purchase, and incur minimal costs (apart from WWE's share of the fee for each purchase) to carry the events: "It's found money for them."[46] DirecTV later quietly dropped carriage of WWE PPVs. In response, WWE said, "Yes, DIRECTV has decided to stop offering our PPV's residentially and commercially. The only other option would be to work through the local cable provider." [47]

On February 19, 2014, Dish Network announced that they would carry WWE pay-per-views on an event by event basis, beginning with Elimination Chamber. Dish Network released a statement saying, "Dish will not offer the ‘WWE Elimination Chamber’ PPV on 2/23. WWE is not willing to adjust their PPV costs to satellite and cable companies, which is unfair to their customers. We need to re-focus our efforts to support partners that better serve Dish customers."[48] Dish later made a decision to air Wrestlemania XXX.[49]

Advertising

In October 2014, it was reported Mattel, Kmart, and Pepsi would begin advertising on the network starting the week of October 13. Wilson stated that although no commercial breaks will occur during scheduled programming, 30 second adverts would run inbetween shows, and that one 15 or 30-second advert would be shown prior to every fourth stream for on-demand content.[50] [51]

See also

References

  1. ^ Caldwell, James (January 8, 2014). "Complete coverage of WWE's announcement from CES in Las Vegas". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ http://corporate.wwe.com/news/2014/2014_8_14.jsp
  3. ^ http://www.wwe.com/wwenetwork/wwe-network-outside-united-states-26533843
  4. ^ WWE Network Launches February 24 Retrieved January 25, 2014
  5. ^ Goldman, Eric (September 6, 2011). "WWE Network coming in 2012". IGN. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ Caldwell, James (September 22, 2011). "WWE News: WWE TV Network update – could PPVs move to the Network?, potential new shows". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ Caldwell, James (November 1, 2012). "McMahon announces Network model, but no timetable for launch; latest on Network plans & survey findings". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b WrestleMania Rewind': The first WWE Network Show"'". WWE. October 17, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Atkinson, Charlie (March 1, 2012). "WWE smackdown: Its cable network can't get off the mat". New York Post. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  10. ^ Lee, Richard (March 29, 2013). "WWE forging ahead with cable network plan".  
  11. ^ Graser, Marc (April 9, 2013). "WWE Models TV Network Plan After NFL’s Approach".  
  12. ^ Stewart, Josh (January 6, 2014). "Old School Raw hints at new WWE Network".  
  13. ^ "WWE Network announcement official". Wrestling Observer. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  14. ^ Flint, Joe (January 8, 2014). "WWE launching over-the-top network".  
  15. ^ Graser, Marc (January 8, 2014). "CES: WWE Network to Launch in February as Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  16. ^ Vincent, James (January 9, 2014). "WWE unveils new digital media model and non-stop wrestling with 24/7 streaming service". The Independent. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  17. ^ "WWE Network Coming 2.24.14". Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ Hooton, Christopher (February 24, 2014). "WWE Network: Price, schedule and everything else you need to know". The Independent. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  19. ^ "WWE unveils new logo". WWE. August 15, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014. 
  20. ^ Berkman, Seth (March 30, 2014). "WWE Network Is Loud Introduction to the Video Streaming Ring".  
  21. ^ Taube, Aaron (May 19, 2014). "Vince McMahon's Plan To Turn Around The WWE Is Blowing Up In His Face". Business Insider. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  22. ^ Mcgrath, Maggie (May 16, 2014). "WWE Slammed: Stock Plunges Nearly 50% As NBCUniversal Deal Fails To Impress". Forbes. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  23. ^ Taube, Aaron (July 7, 2014). "The Money-Losing WWE Network Is Making Another Big Push For Subscribers". Business Insider. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Graser, Marc (July 31, 2014). "WWE Network Ready for International Rollout to Pin Down New Subscribers". Variety. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  25. ^ "WWE Network on track to 1 million subscribers". WWE Official Website. April 7, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  26. ^ "WWE Signs 10-Year Canadian TV Deal With Rogers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 31, 2014. 
  27. ^ Alvarez, Edgar (July 31, 2014). "WWE Network heading to 170 new countries next month".  
  28. ^ Baysinger, Tim (August 12, 2014). "WWE Offering OTT Network Internationally".  
  29. ^ Graser, Marc (October 30, 2014). "WWE Network Grows to 731,000 Subscribers, Drops Contract Requirement".  
  30. ^ Flint, Joe (October 30, 2014). "WWE to Drop Six-Month Commitment for Online Video Subscriptions".  
  31. ^ Rigby, Sam (November 3, 2014). "WWE Network UK launch delayed until further notice". Digital Spy. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 
  32. ^ CRTC http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2014/2014-613.htm . Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g Lieberman, David (January 9, 2014). "WWE Sets February 24 Launch Date For Online Network". Deadline New York. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  34. ^ WWE Network to Launch Online, Offer Live Raw and SmackDown Post-Shows and All PPVs
  35. ^ WWE launches WWE Network subscription-based web TV channel
  36. ^ a b c Gelston, Dan (January 9, 2014). "WWE launching 24/7 network in February". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 12, 2014. 
  37. ^ WWE.com Staff (February 4, 2014). "Every pay-per-view available on WWE Network". WWE.com.  
  38. ^ WWE.com Staff (February 15, 2014). Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels & Bret "Hit Man" Hart talk WWE Network""". WWE.com.  
  39. ^ Caldwell, James (January 3, 2014). "WWE NEWS: Ross returns to TV on ESPN, Benoit/WWE Network update, top indie tag team turned down?". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  40. ^ "WWE Faces Difficult Decisions On Network Content".  
  41. ^ Johnson, Vaughn (February 26, 2014). "Early impressions of the WWE Network".  
  42. ^ Meltzer, Dave. "MON. UPDATE: WWE network news, Raw preview for tonight, Feedback to Chamber, Bellator deals, U.S. group says they've got a national cable contract, Rousey's next foe".  
  43. ^ "How WWE Resolved The ECW/New Jack Isue On The WWE Network", F4Wonline.com
  44. ^ "A look at what WWE Network events and shows have been edited", F4WOnline.com
  45. ^ Luckerson, Victor (January 10, 2014). "Holds Barred: Why the WWE Isn't Going to Cable". TIME.com. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  46. ^ Flint, Joe (January 9, 2014). "DirecTV may sever ties with WWE over new online network". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  47. ^ "WWE NEWS: DirecTV not carrying WWE PPVs, WWE responds". PWTorch. April 14, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Dish Stops Offering WWE’s PPVs Before New Network Launch". Variety. February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  49. ^ Johnson, Mike. "BIG ABOUT FACE FOR DISH NETWORK AND WWE PPVS, STARTING WITH WRESTLEMANIA". Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  50. ^ Poggi, Jeanine (October 13, 2014). "WWE's Online Network Signs First Advertisers".  
  51. ^ Richards, Katie (October 13, 2014). "Here's Why Pepsi, Mattel and Kmart Are Rushing To Advertise On The WWE's Netflix-For-Wrestling".  

External links

  • Official website

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