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all 12 pay-per-view events (typically costing $45) as well as a massive back catalogue of more than 1,500 hours of historical content.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.

 


 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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: Field Service Engineer - Basingstoke / Reading Area

    £16000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established name in IT Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior 2nd / 3rd Line IT Service Engineer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company delivers complete ...

    Recruitment Genius: Web / UI / UX Designer

    £22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Recruitment and Sales ...

    Day In a Page

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue