In today’s world of apps, there is practically one for every level of entertainment. Movies, TV, sports. If it is a form of entertainment, it is available. However, what many people don’t realize was one app was the pioneer for many of the over-the-top styles available today – WWE Network.
People still crap on wrestling at times for no real reason. Whether they believe its not fun because its staged is there business. However, outside of Netflix & Hulu, WWE Network was truly the first sports brand to go with the over-the-top style – meaning the ability to stream live content without the need of cable login.
When the idea was first brought up in 2011, most wrestling fans believed that the service would be a channel. Fans, including many of the team at Electronics City, grew up wanting a network for wrestling. Most people grew up on the sport in the 70s, 80s, 90s & still watch today. WWE has been the clear leader in professional wrestling & preserving the history of the business. The company owns most of the top promotions & their video libraries, which have been digitized for WWE Network.
As time went on, WWE created more & more content. The time was becoming right. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was one to always have his eye on the pulse of the world. The company new that a normal TV channel wouldn’t suffice. It had to be something bigger.
WWE Network Introduced In January 2014
When WWE Network was announced, it was on the biggest stage available – CES in Las Vegas. It was streamed on WWE.com & that was the first night it was known that events would be shown live through the app. While ESPN & other companies had those features, again, there was the need for cable.
Cable & satellite was starting to get played out. People didn’t want to spend so much money on services, hence why they were gravitating towards Netflix & Hulu. The price points had to be competitive with Netflix in order to make the service worthwhile. WWE produces monthly PPV events that would typically cost about $50 – $60 in HD. The economy was changing. People didn’t want to spend big money just for one event.
During the announcement, it was revealed that the service would have every pay-per-view event in the history of the business at launch. WWE would have content from their own company, WCW & ECW. The latter two were territories WWE purchased over the years, but had a major following from wrestling fans. The only way fans could see the classic pay-per-view events was through DVDs & blu-ray, but those became costly over time, especially if fans were purchasing each event when it was released.
Live Events On WWE Network Without Pay-Per-View or Higher Price
One of the biggest questions was whether WWE would show their top events on WWE Network. Not only did they do that, but there wasn’t an increase in price to do so. Wrestlemania, their top event, would be available on the Network for the same $9.99 subscription cost – something that at the time was unheard of.
Many stockholders & critics asked why the company would give away an event for basically free. Wrestlemania on PPV used to be $70 to watch. Fans would go to bars, have parties where everyone would chip in, anything to just cut the cost of watching. McMahon knew the company was starting to look in a different direction other than high costs.
Today, WWE Network has hundreds of different events, live specials & documentary series that have allowed older & new fans to fall in love with the product again. Many fans say if it were not for WWE Network being so popular, the company may be in trouble with losing fans. The current product has been okay, but not to the level that it was in the 80s, 90s & even early 2000s. The company has clearly put all its eggs into making WWE Network the top place for WWE content. At only $10 per month.
Companies Followed WWE Network Model
Since WWE Network launched in 2014, other entertainment companies have followed suit. Mainstream media may not admit it, but WWE has been a strong social media force & a force in technology. HBO, Showtime, Hulu & many others have begun offering live streaming in an over-the-top format. While WWE is still the cheapest in that space, other companies are realizing that cord-cutting is a trend that won’t stop anytime soon.
Other apps, including the ones mentioned, keep up content for the current season of shows only. WWE goes deeper into their library & constantly has content from the past. Some items end up taken down, but repackaged in a different way & returned back to the service. Because WWE doesn’t run in a traditional season format, it would be impossible to keep a year of action available.
Fans Love WWE’s Past
The reason WWE fans went with the Network was the ability to go back in the past. Wrestling, more than almost any other media around, truly embraces classic moments from the past & fans actively watch it. There are fans who watch the past even more than the product of today.
For most of the company’s existence, fans waited for DVDs & blu-ray sets to come out in order to enjoy the past moments of WWE superstars. WWE Network features content from back in the 1950s that has been excellently remastered for today’s viewing.
Today’s WWE Network continues to be a great value for fans of sports & entertainment. The company adopted a free month membership for the first month. That promotion attracted tons of fans around the world & has kept those fans.
If you want some fun entertainment of today or back in the day, give WWE Network a chance. It is a true bodyslam in the world of apps. The service is available on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast & virtually every device available.