Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lets talk about the WWE Network

Last week at CES the WWE announced a new streaming service that many have heralded as the future of television. Go ahead and click the link if you want all the details, if not allow me to summarize. For $9.99 a month you'll have access to a large portion of the WWE's catalog; Pay Per Views, DVD compilations old episodes of RAW and Nitro. All available on your tablet, PC, Roku, Xbox Live, etc. Essentially it's the Netflix of wrestling. Here's the kicker though, you also get live Pay Per Views such as Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble and Summerslam.

Now I don't know when the last time you ordered a wrestling or even a UFC pay per view but they start at $50 and can run $70 easy. If you're a wrestling fan who orders just one PPV a year, you're a sucker not to sign up for the WWE Network. For the price of Wrestlemania alone you get 6 months of programming along with 5 other PPV events.

Ok, enough of the wrestling geekery. Here's what has net-nerds excited. The thought that other networks will follow suit. The holy grail of a la carte networks of course being HBO.. or ESPN I guess, if you're into Sportsball. Kids these days don't want to sit down in front of their TV and watch what's on. They're greedy little snots that want to watch what they want when they want and they only want to pay for what they watch. Which I guess is reasonable. The problem is that most channels (like ESPN) aren't built like the WWE.

The WWE owns everything it produces. Sure USA and SyFy and ION put their programing on the air but they don't actually own the shows. In contrast save for old episodes of PTI, ESPN owns nothing. In fact a lot of networks are in the same boat. There are a handful of shows they actually own and then everything else is owned by the production companies that produce the shows. For example If NBC tried the same thing using content they owned 100% they would have rerun after rerun of The Single Guy and ZERO episodes of Seinfeld.

Long story short, I'm not sure how much the WWE network really heralds a new era of a la carte programing as much as it heralds in a new era for the WWE. Quite honestly I'm not looking forward to a future where I have to pay a dozen different subscriptions for the same content you can get with cable for one price but I guess that makes me an old fuddy duddy.




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