After more than two years of discussion and speculation, WWE officially announced plans to launch the highly anticipated WWE Network today on a live stream by Vince McMahon. The official website has the news:
Click here for WWE's full press release.
Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal provides information about what to expect from the network:
WWE launching WWE Network, an over-the-top channel w live, on-demand content, supported by MLB Advanced Media— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 9, 2014
Among planned content for WWE Network is reality show, Legends House, sort of a Real World w retired wrestlers inc Rowdy Roddy Piper— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 9, 2014
WWE Network targeted launch date is Feb. 24— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 9, 2014
The $9.99/mo price for WWE Network requires a 6-mo commitment. But for about price of 1 PPV, half yr of 24/7 content— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) January 9, 2014
WrestlingINC.com discloses what the first live event on the channel will be:
Anthony DiMoro of SportsRants.com explains why this is a huge deal for WWE fans:
#WWE to announce WWE Network, PPVs are a dwindling business & WWE is creating a media initiative for their brand. Enjoy their innovation— Anthony DiMoro (@AnthonyDiMoro) January 9, 2014
WWE Network developed into a punch line among wrestling fans, as few seemed to believe it would ever get off the ground. There always seemed to be plenty of money in the idea, though, and the WWE has finally decided to pull the trigger.
Although it remains to be seen precisely what content will be featured on WWE Network, the company will have no shortage of options. Not only does WWE have a massive video library that will allow it to show tons of archived footage, but reality shows, NXT and even WWE pay-per-views could also potentially become part of the equation.
One particular reality show that has already been at least partially shot is Legends' House. Although there were rumors regarding WWE looking for an alternative network that would be willing to air Legends' House, that was shot down by WWE executive George Barrios, according to WrestlingInc.com via the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
WWE even went so far as to have fans vote on the names of various show. Along with Legends' House, a pre-Total Divas reality show based on the Divas was conceptualized, according to WWE Network on Twitter.
It's unclear if Total Divas will render WWE Divas: Heels on Wheels moot, but that was just one of many ideas the WWE brain trust has surely discussed.
In addition to Legends' House and Heels on Wheels, there are so many possibilities at WWE's disposal that it's essentially impossible for the company to run out of content. If the WWE Network ends up being anything like other professional sports stations such as NFL Network or NHL Network, it should be extremely successful.
How do you feel about the launch of WWE Network?
The NFL Network model has proven successful, as there is a great deal of content dedicated to previewing, reviewing and analyzing the current product, but it also utilizes much of the old footage at its disposal to create low-cost, high-quality programming to fill the rest of the time.
There is no reason why WWE can't do something similar, and even though the NFL obviously has a much larger audience, WWE's fanbase is rabid, and there is little doubt it would be willing to pay whatever it takes to get WWE Network within reason.
WWE fans spend tons of money on DVDs yearly, so WWE Network is unquestionably something that would appeal to them. Wrestling fans would never again be able to say there is nothing on television because WWE could show old footage for years upon years without ever running out of repeating anything.
That is especially true due to the fact that WWE owns a number of different video libraries, including WCW and ECW. Old-school fans would appreciate shows focused on those defunct promotions, and more recent fans would relish the opportunity to learn about wrestling history.
The fact that WWE finally seems to have a workable plan in place for WWE Network is huge because fans were essentially teased by the notion of WWE Network a couple of years ago. The can was kicked down the road time and time again until it was no longer a topic of conversation.
Discussion picked back up again in May 2013 when WWE chief operating officer Triple H responded to a fan's query regarding the state of WWE Network.
Then, when speaking at the TV Summit at NYC Television Week in October 2013, WWE executive vice president of creative development and operations Stephanie McMahon revealed there were still plans in place for WWE Network, according to Luke McCord of Broadcasting & Cable.
"We are looking at traditional and nontraditional distribution, and we're targeting first quarter next year," McMahon said.
Pessimistic fans may not have believed her after so much misinformation in the past regarding WWE Network, but the company is finally making it happen. It seems as though there is still plenty of work to be done when it comes to getting things up and running, but this is the most positive WWE Network news to become public since the initial announcement way back in 2011.
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