WWE Network

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WWE Network
Wwenetworklogo.png
Launched February 24, 2014 (2014-02-24)
Owned by WWE
Picture format 720p HD
Slogan It's Way Over the Top
Country United States
Broadcast area United States (launch)
Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Nordics (late 2014/early 2015)
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Website network.wwe.com

The WWE Network is a subscription-based video streaming service owned by WWE. The concept was originally announced in 2011.[1] On January 8, 2014, WWE announced the network would launch on February 24, 2014 in the United States, with launches in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Nordic countries set for late 2014/early 2015.[2]

Overview[edit]

In September 2011, WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network.[1] WWE conducted a survey asking if people would pay for the WWE Network if it were a premium channel. In an email sent to WWE fans who might be interested in the WWE Network, WWE surveyed fans for their thoughts about the WWE Network airing WWE's pay-per-views to subscribers for no additional charge. The survey also noted that feature repeats of Raw and SmackDown, as well as footage from WCW, ECW, NWA and AWA would also make the lineup. Original programming was also noted in the survey.[3][4]

As the result of an online poll, WrestleMania Rewind was chosen as a name for a new WWE Network show on October 17, 2011.[5] The original launch date had been April 1, 2012, which would have coincided with WrestleMania XXVIII. WWE.com featured a countdown clock that would have expired on April 1, however the clock was quietly removed, and the network did not launch as advertised.[6]

Two years later, on Old School Raw in January 2014, WWE ran teasers featuring the WWE Network logo promoting an announcement on January 8 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.[7] It was later confirmed that the announcement would concern the WWE Network.[8] At the Consumer Electronics Show on January 8, WWE revealed a comprehensive plan which would see a launch date of February 24, 2014 in the United States.[9][10]

WWE Classics on Demand closed on January 31, 2014 to make way for the WWE Network.[11]

WWE Network is available on desktops and laptops via WWE.com. WWE Network will also be available through the WWE App on: Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices; Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku streaming devices, PlayStation 3 & 4 and Xbox 360. Availability on additional devices, including Xbox One and select smart TVs, will follow in the summer of 2014. Vince McMahon has stated that all 12 WWE pay-per-views will be featured on the network for no additional charge, starting with WrestleMania XXX.[9][10] As of April 7, 2014 following WrestleMania XXX, WWE released a press statement revealing the network currently has 667,287 subscribers and that the goal is to have 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.[12]

Programming[edit]

Although the United States parental guidelines rating system rates most weekly WWE television programs TV-PG, the WWE Network broadcasts a wider range of content.[10] A parental controls block is available and content rated TV-14 and TV-MA are preceded by an advisory warning.[10] The network airs footage featuring Chris Benoit, but an advisory warning is displayed before each airing; it marks the first major airing of Benoit footage since his murder-suicide in 2007.[19] Over the Edge 1999, infamous for Owen Hart's death at the event, is also available for the first time since its original air date, however some portions of the event have been edited out of respect to the Hart wrestling family.[20] Matches called with Jesse Ventura on commentary, which have previously been dubbed over due to a 1991 lawsuit, air with the original commentary.[15]

While the network promoted on-demand airings as being unedited, some instances of expletives and all nudity are censored.[21][22]

At launch, all but one of New Jack's matches were removed from ECW pay-per-views, as was his surprise return at Heat Wave 1998, due to a combination of musical rights issues over his entrance music and the inability to remove the music without losing the original commentary audio. The deleted matches were eventually reinstated with replacement music and newly recorded Joey Styles commentary. [23] Several pay-per-views are copies of their condensed home video releases, rather than the live versions, and so are missing matches.[24]

Possible impact on the TV industry[edit]

In an interview with Time, Michelle D. Wilson, chief revenue and marketing officer for WWE, stated their reason for bypassing cable companies and instead only offering the WWE Network online: "Digital over-the-top offerings represent the future, and given that our passionate fans consume five times more online video content than non-WWE viewers and over-index for purchasing online subscriptions such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, we believe the time is now for a WWE Network".[25]

In response to the announcement, DirecTV issued a statement saying that they are re-evaluating whether to continue carrying WWE's pay-per-view events. Because these events would also be available on the WWE Network once it launches, it might reduce the number of pay-per-view purchases via cable and satellite providers. However, Vince McMahon suggested that pay-TV operators would ultimately decide to continue to carry WWE's pay-per-view events, given that providers keep a significant share of each purchase, and incur minimal costs (apart from WWE's share of the fee for each purchase) to carry the events: "It's found money for them."[26] DirecTV later quietly dropped carriage of WWE PPVs. In response, WWE said, "Yes, DIRECTV has decided to stop offering our PPV's residentially and commercially. The only other option would be to work through the local cable provider." [27]

On February 19, 2014, Dish Network announced that they would carry WWE pay-per-views on an event by event basis, beginning with Elimination Chamber. Dish Network released a statement on their Facebook page saying, "Dish will not offer the ‘WWE Elimination Chamber’ PPV on 2/23. WWE is not willing to adjust their PPV costs to satellite and cable companies, which is unfair to their customers. We need to re-focus our efforts to support partners that better serve Dish customers."[28] Dish later made a decision to air Wrestlemania XXX.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New WWE Network announced". WWE. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ WWE Network Launches February 24 Retrieved January 25, 2014
  3. ^ Caldwell, James (2011-09-22). "WWE News: WWE TV Network update - could PPVs move to the Network?, potential new shows". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  4. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-11-01). "WWE NEWS: McMahon announces Network model, but no timetable for launch; latest on Network plans & survey findings". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  5. ^ a b "'WrestleMania Rewind': The first WWE Network Show". WWE. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  6. ^ Atkinson, Charlie (March 1, 2012). "WWE smackdown: Its cable network can't get off the mat". New York Post. Retrieved March 2, 2012. 
  7. ^ Stewart, Josh (January 6, 2014). "Old School Raw hints at new WWE Network". Newsday. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "WWE Network announcement official". Figure Four Weekly Online. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Flint, Joe (January 8, 2014). "WWE launching over-the-top network". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d Graser, Marc (January 8, 2014). "CES: WWE Network to Launch in February as Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ "WWE Network Coming 2.24.14". Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2014/0407/572930/wwe-reveals-number-of-wwe-network-subscribers/
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Lieberman, David (January 9, 2014). "WWE Sets February 24 Launch Date For Online Network". Deadline New York. Retrieved January 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ WWE Network to Launch Online, Offer Live Raw and SmackDown Post-Shows and All PPVs
  15. ^ a b c Gelston, Dan (January 9, 2014). "WWE launching 24/7 network in February". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved January 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ WWE launches WWE Network subscription-based web TV channel
  17. ^ WWE.com Staff (2014-02-15). ""Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels & Bret "Hit Man" Hart talk WWE Network". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  18. ^ WWE.com Staff (2014-02-04). "Every pay-per-view available on WWE Network". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  19. ^ Caldwell, James (2014-01-03). "WWE NEWS: Ross returns to TV on ESPN, Benoit/WWE Network update, top indie tag team turned down?". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  20. ^ "WWE Faces Difficult Decisions On Network Content". KDKA-TV. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ Johnson, Vaughn (February 26, 2014). "Early impressions of the WWE Network". philly.com. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  22. ^ Meltzer, Dave. "MON. UPDATE: WWE network news, Raw preview for tonight, Feedback to Chamber, Bellator deals, U.S. group says they've got a national cable contract, Rousey's next foe". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ "How WWE Resolved The ECW/New Jack Isue On The WWE Network", F4Wonline.com
  24. ^ "A look at what WWE Network events and shows have been edited", F4WOnline.com
  25. ^ Luckerson, victor (2014-01-10). "Holds Barred: Why the WWE Isn’t Going to Cable". TIME.com. Retrieved 2014-10-11. 
  26. ^ Flint, Joe (January 9, 2014). "DirecTV may sever ties with WWE over new online network". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  27. ^ "WWE NEWS: DirecTV not carrying WWE PPVs, WWE responds". PWTorch. April 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  28. ^ "Dish Stops Offering WWE’s PPVs Before New Network Launch". Variety. February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  29. ^ Johnson, Mike. "BIG ABOUT FACE FOR DISH NETWORK AND WWE PPVS, STARTING WITH WRESTLEMANIA". Retrieved March 25, 2014. 

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