After months and months of anticipation, the WWE Network was finally launched last Monday.
However, rather than choosing to dive straight in with the revolutionary service, the company instead offered customers a one-week trial period absolutely free of charge.
As an Englishman currently residing in London, I have unfortunately not been able to sign up for the trial and experience the Network myself. But judging by the early reviews that I’ve read, the general consensus appears to be a positive one (with a smidge of optimism in there for good measure). Cagesideseats.com acknowledges that it remains early but nonetheless the service looks “glorious.”
However, there have also been reports of technical issues with the Network mainly due to heavy traffic. Regarding this, I’d like to point out that a project of this size was always going to generate a few hiccups.
Technologies such as video games receive weeks of beta testing and even then they’re sometimes still not ready for launch. Furthermore, as we saw with the PlayStation 4, even the highest-profile launches can run into problems.
And in terms of online issues, the recent launch of Obamacare was evidence enough of the types of server errors and delays that introducing a new website can entail.
But the bottom line is that this is where the beauty of the free trial comes into play.
Even though some customers experienced technical problems, we can’t really argue as we have yet to pay a single cent for this service. If we don’t like it, we can—to pinch a phrase from the industry— simply take our ball and go home.
We’re often guilty of lamenting the WWE’s failure to give us a voice as fans. But in this instance we have an example of the company giving us as much freedom as we desire when it really matters most.
On a cynical level, you may wish to view it as the WWE simply covering its back. But it’s also evidence of the company respecting our positions as customers and offering us a much fairer deal.
Kudos to them for that.
But we are not the only ones who benefit from the free trial. The company could in fact feasibly break even off the back of it.
It’s been claimed that “approximately 1 million subscribers is the WWE Network’s break-even point.” That may seem like a lot, but WWE.com’s average reach can easily cover such a volume.
A comprehensive press release from the company once estimated the number of unique visitors (in the U.S.) at roughly 399,000 per day and 6.3 million per month. Extrapolating these numbers gives us a weekly figure of just over 1.5 million unique visitors.
So basically, the WWE needs around two-thirds of its regular traffic to be convinced enough by the trial to sign up to the Network. Given the amount of publicity that the service has received, it’s probable that the number of unique viewers last week was much higher than the usual average.
Of course, this press release is a number of years old. But further, more recent research proves that WWE.com is still a massive draw and accumulates a very high number of monthly visitors.
And while it may be a little overzealous to anticipate that two-thirds of visitors end up signing up to the service, either way these numbers look good for the WWE. I would expect them to make a sizable leap towards that break-even target over the coming days as trialists upgrade to full memberships. With the anticipated WrestleMania uplift to come too, the company looks set to do just fine with the WWE Network.
Perhaps more importantly, the WWE proved that it was putting the interests of customers first with its one-week free trial. We’ve had a taste of the product, and for those of us who don’t like it we need never go back. I get the feeling that those dissatisfied will in fact be in the minority.
But of course, I was not fortunate enough to test out the Network myself.
So what do you guys who have tried it out think? Are you convinced that the WWE Network will be a success? Or has the trial period put you off for good?
Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this matter, as well as any of the other points discussed in the article. And as always, thanks for reading!