WWE unveils new digital media model and non-stop wrestling with 24/7 streaming service

Announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show will allow fans to avoid paying subscriptions to traditional cable and service providers

In a move that shows the continuing pull of digital content over traditional media companies, professional wrestling promoter WWE has announced the launch of a new digital ‘channel’, the WWE Network.

For a $9.99 monthly subscription (with a minimum six month commitment), fans will have access to a 24/7 streaming service, all 12 pay-per-view events (typically costing $45) as well as a massive back catalogue of more than 1,500 hours of historical content.

By offering the service through a range of internet-connected devices including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, PCs and gaming consoles WWE are giving viewers a chance to side-step traditional media ‘gatekeepers’ including cable and satellite services.

The media company had originally planned on launching a cable-based TV channel four years ago but have reoriented to a digital-first strategy as traditional revenue models have suffered from rising costs and disaffected customers.

The WWE Network will launch in the US from 24th February and will move to the UK and other territories including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong at some point between the end of 2014 and early 2015.

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network.

WWE CEO and former wrestler Vince McMahon said the move would provide “transformative growth for our company and unprecedented value for our fans.”

“Today is a historic day for WWE as we transform and reimagine how we deliver our premium live content and 24/7 programming directly to our fans around the world,” said McMahon at an event announcing the network in Las Vegas.

Professional wrestling may be a relatively niche sport when compared to football or baseball but its fans are dedicated, and WWE’s decision could open the way to more flexible subscription packages delivered to customers worldwide.

WWE have said that it needs between 800,000 and one million subscribers for the service to break even and that each subscription will generate around $600 for the company each year, with profits stemming from the price of subscription as well as advertising deals.

“We have the content and we have the fanbase willing to pay for it and build it,” said WWE’s chief revenue and marketing officer Michelle Wilson. ““We did our research and said this is catching up faster than we expected.”

“Over-the-top became a very viable option so we said maybe we should rethink this and look at an alternative model where we would be in control of our own destiny.”

The WWE Network will provide access to archived pay per view content such as Wrestlemania (above - Ric Flair is thrown into the air by Chris Jericho in 2009). Credit: Getty Images.

 


 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Design Apprentice

    £6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well established websit...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: .Net / SQL Developer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer - PC/Mac

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...

    Day In a Page

    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing