WWE Network: Is Its Future Being Clouded by WWE's YouTube Channel?

Bill Atkinson@@BAtkinson1963Analyst IJanuary 20, 2013

The long-awaited but unaired WWE Network may be learning that the biggest barrier to its launch could be the company’s YouTube channel.

According to an article by Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com, WWE has posted a poll on its website asking visitors to vote for programming that they would like to see included on the YouTube channel.

The 10 choices offered on the poll include classic matches from WWE in their entirety, reality shows hosted by WWE stars and profiles of stars’ lives away from the ring.

Scherer notes that the options on the poll all are show ideas that WWE promised would be airing on the WWE Network:

Now maybe I am reading too much into this but I can tell you that all of those ideas have been discussed as being ideas for shows on the Network, if it were to ever happen.  It could be that WWE is going to use YouTube as a test run for such shows.  Or it could be that the Network will be “12 to 18 months away” for the rest of our lives.

Scherer adds that WWE currently is making money from the YouTube channel, while the question of whether the WWE Network will make any money “is up for major debate.”

According to the latest poll results, the option of classic full-length matches is by far the most popular choice on the list at 29 percent—more than twice the percentage of star profiles away from the ring.

Lately, WWE has said little about the planned WWE Network, except to say that it will be a subscription-based network that will be on major cable and satellite TV carriers.

The network’s Wikipedia page states that the network will launch in 2013 and will be a hybrid of traditional TV and online/mobile distribution.

Plans for the network were first announced in 2011 with the goal of having it on the air by last April's WrestleMania 29. But WWE has kept pushing back the launch date.

The PWInsider.com report was followed by a second article on the website stating that Dolph Ziggler’s YouTube show, Ask the HEEL, is ending. According to the second article, Ziggler tweeted that next week’s show will be the last in the series.

In a later tweet cited in the second article, Ziggler stated that all of WWE's shows on YouTube had a one-year contract, and the year was up. WWE did not immediately confirm that.

All this could mean that WWE is planning a revamp of the YouTube channel, and the online poll is the first step in that revamp. We will have to wait and see.

Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.