I was surprised when I found out that WWE holds the largest television audience in sports, second only to the NFL. I was even more shocked to find out that WWE intends to use their audience size and revenue to take the first step in revolutionizing the way that television programming is organized and purchased. On January 8, 2014, World Wrestling Entertainment announced the February 24th launch of the WWE Network- the “first ever 24/7 streaming network” (WWE).
In the past, WWE has been hugely successful with their monthly Pay-Per-View events costing approximately $50 each month, rounding out a year at $600. The new WWE Network will charge $9.99/month with an initial contract of 6 months. Not only is this substantially cheaper for consumers than the PPV option, but it will also be available on a plethora of devices including Roku, Apple, Sony PlayStation, and Xbox devices ranging from smart TVs to tablets to smartphones. Along with it’s monthly PPV events that will continue to be broadcast on cable, the network has announced that it will offer new, original programming, archival content, and programming highlights to fans all via online streaming. New original content will include WWE Superstars, The Monday Night War, and WWE Legends House among others- all of which will be available on demand after their first air date.
The WWE Network will be the first to offer full television quality and style content through the internet instead of the cable box. Whether other television companies will follow suite and switch to streaming only time will tell, but I think it’s safe to say that WWE is taking a step in a new, and likely revolutionary direction.
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