The WWE will soon be launching a paid streaming TV application called the WWE Network. After years of talking about starting its own television network, the company's decision to go online shows smart, forward-thinking business sense.
The WWE announced its big news on Twitter:
Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal notes a reasonable monthly cost of $9.99 (with six-month subscription), while providing perspective on that price:
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
The network will serve many purposes for the ever-evolving company, as described by Adrian Covert of CNN Money, who also provides details about how fans can consume this exciting new product:
...the WWE Network will not only serve as an archive of WWE's older material, but will also play home to its current shows, pay-per-views, and new, original series made exclusively for the network.
The service will not only work in web browsers, Android devices, and Apple (, Fortune 500) iOS devices, but will also be available on a number of streaming TV boxes including the Roku, Sony() PlayStation and Microsoft (,Fortune 500) Xbox consoles. While the WWE did not confirm compatibility with Google (, Fortune 500)'s Chromecast, it handed that streaming video device out to attendees at CES as parting gifts, hinting that support will be there.
Broadcast television is so last month, and it's clear by the company's move that the WWE gets the big picture. More and more, consumers are finding their entertainment online, rather than utilizing traditional methods (television and radio).
This is especially true when it comes to younger viewers, according to a poll conducted by Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council Americas:
The trend toward obtaining video and audio content via the Internet, and bypassing programming offered by traditional cable and satellite providers, is advancing more quickly than previously believed because of a sea-change in the viewing habits of younger consumers...
...40 percent are accessing at least some video programming through so-called “over-the-top” video services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and iTunes, as well as through a variety of applications for mobile devices through the Internet. However, for those who are under age 35, the figure jumps to 70 percent.
Vince McMahon thinks WWE fans are particularly ahead of the curve when it comes to this data, as Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times shared: "Our fans are early adopters of new technologies."
Company chief revenue and marketing officer Michelle Wilson added: "This gives us control of our destiny and a better user interface. We think this is the future."
It's easy to see why the WWE decided to forgo (at least for the time being) its dream of starting a television network.
This streaming network is a veritable gold mine waiting to be pilfered.
Fans across the nation will flock to pay the $9.99 per month in order to avoid the exorbitant pay-per-view costs of the big events, as Covert points out:
All 12 of its pay-per-view shows, including WrestleMania, will air live on the app -- and at no added cost to the $10 monthly fee. Normally, WWE pay-per-view shows sell for $40 to $50. So the WWE's aggressive price move gives fans an enticing reason to subscribe.
This move by the WWE is simply brilliant from a business standpoint. A regular source of income is the lifeblood of any business, and the new network will provide the company with the means to expand its influence globally.
The first event fans can see on the new WWE Network is Wrestlemania 30, as relayed by WrestlingINC.com:
It will be fascinating to see what kind of numbers come back at the conclusion of the company's flagship event.
Will you be subscribing?
McMahon said the company needs 1,000,000 subscribers to break even, per Flint. Chances are, it'll be an overwhelming success, and subscriptions will likely swell from that point, provided things go off without a hitch.
With a tremendous library of archived events to peruse, fans won't have any reason to get bored when there's nothing new happening, too.
Streaming service is the wave of the future, and the WWE has gotten on board at just the right time.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78