WWE is set to launch a network in the first quarter of 2012. The company has released a few commercials to advertise the launch.
Fans have learned that the network will feature live in-ring action, classic programming, and reality shows like Legends House.
For the network to succeed, it must feature shows that will have devout viewers.
WWE can learn from MTV and VH1. VH1 gained viewers by providing programming that profiled artists. MTV gained viewers by becoming a source of counterculture.
Network officials will be lucky to have a vault of footage from the American Wrestling Association, Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, and World Class Championship Wrestling.
The network will also be lucky to have a proven stable of television personalities like, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross.
The lineup will likely feature replays of past pay-per-view events, and episodes of Raw and Smackdown.
However, the network must create shows that can bring advertisers and viewers.
If the mission of the WWE Network is to be the channel that fans demand, it must feature programs that profile Superstars and display them in ways that viewers don’t normally see. Viewers can likely expect shows about rivalries, and how Superstars earned their contracts.
Network executives should plan to feature house shows and philanthropic events. Officials should also plan to feature countdowns and shows driven by social media.
For example, LiveWire could return. The show formerly featured e-mails and call-ins. A revamped show could feature tweets and Facebook replies.
Moreover, the network could feature programming dedicated to start-ups. NBC has The Celebrity Apprentice. ABC features Shark Tank. The WWE Network could easily feature Superstars acting as employees or entrepreneurs.
The risk is great for WWE officials, but the reward could be greater for fans.