|Launched||February 24, 2014|
|Picture format||720p HD|
|Slogan||It's Way Over the Top|
|Broadcast area||United States (launch)
Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Nordics (late 2014/early 2015)
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.|
The WWE Network is a subscription-based video streaming service owned by WWE. The concept was originally announced in 2011. 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.
In September 2011, WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network. 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.
As the result of an online poll, WrestleMania Rewind was chosen as a name for a new WWE Network show on October 17, 2011. 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.
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. It was later confirmed that the announcement would concern the WWE Network. At the Consumer Electronics Show on January 8, WWE revealed a comprehensive plan which will see a launch date of February 24, 2014 in the United States.
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.
Programming announced at the Consumer Electronics Show included:
- All WWE pay-per-view events (12 per year) broadcast live.
- WrestleMania Rewind - The first show named to be part of the network. It will be a retrospective look at WrestleMania's memorable moments.
- The Monday Night War - A television series about the Monday Night Wars.
- WWE Legends' House - A reality television series featuring several WWE legends.
- WWE Countdown - An interactive program.
- Pre and post shows for Raw and SmackDown.
- While Raw and SmackDown will continue to air on cable television, encore presentations will air on the WWE Network.
- A new live daily studio show.
- Weekly live airings of WWE Main Event.
- Weekly airings of WWE NXT.
- Weekly airings of WWE Superstars.
- More than 100,000  hours of archive content from WWE Libraries, including virtually every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view event ever produced, will be available for on-demand streaming. There are at least four past WCW PPV events which WWE has not listed as available, specifically the four overseas events which WCW co-produced with New Japan Pro Wrestling (WCW/New Japan Supershow (1991–93) and Collision in Korea (1995)) and the German-exclusive pay-per-view, Millennium Final (2000).
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. A parental controls block is available and content rated TV-14 and TV-MA are preceded by an advisory warning. 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 infamous murder-suicide in 2007. 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. Matches called with Jesse Ventura on commentary, which have previously been dubbed over due to a 1991 lawsuit, air with the original commentary.
While the network promoted on-demand airings as being unedited, instances of expletives and nudity are censored. All but one of New Jack's matches have been removed, as was his surprise return at Heat Wave 1999. He is still shown interfering in other matches. Several pay-per-views are copies of their condensed home video releases, rather than the live versions, and so are missing matches.
Possible impact on the TV industry
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".
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."
On February 19, 2014, Dish Network announced that they would no longer carry WWE pay-per-views, 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."
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