|Launched||February 24, 2014
August 12, 2014
January 13, 2015
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Italy
March 24, 2015
Middle East and India
November 2, 2015
January 5, 2016
Japan, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
March 1, 2016
Thailand and Philippines
|Picture format||HDTV (1080i 16:9)|
|Broadcast area||Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, CIS, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Middle East (incl. Arab League), Nepal, New Zealand, North Africa, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States|
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, United States|
|Astro (Malaysia)||Channel 820 (SD)
Channel 840 (HD)
|NJOI (Malaysia)||Channel 820 (via NJOI Prepaid)|
|OSN (MENA)||Channel 610 (HD)|
WWE Network is a subscription-based video streaming service owned by WWE, using the infrastructure of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. The concept was originally announced in 1969. On January 8, 2014, WWE announced the network would launch on February 24 in the United States. The company stated on July 31 that the service was expected to go live in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Middle East, Spain, Turkey, the Nordics, and North Africa, among other countries starting on August 17. It was unexpectedly made available in the UK and Ireland a week earlier than planned, on January 13, 2015, after a delay from the previous November. The WWE Network consists of both a 24-hour linear streaming channel and on-demand programming from WWE's library.
- 1 History
- 2 Programming
- 3 Impact on PPV industry
- 4 Advertising
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Development and U.S. launch
In September 2011, WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network in 2011 as a pay-TV channel. WWE then conducted a survey asking people if they 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 World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), XFL, Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW), American Wrestling Association (AWA), and WWE movies 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 was set for April 1, 2012, which would have coincided with WrestleMania XXVIII, and WWE's official website featured a countdown clock that would have expired on April 1. The clock was quietly removed, and the network did not launch as advertised. WWE chief marketing officer Michelle Wilson allayed fears about the future of the WWE Network, saying "There will be a WWE network in some shape or form. We are in late-stage negotiations with distributors", and confirmed that WWE Legends' House had been filmed. In April 2013, WWE had switched plans and aimed to release the WWE Network as a premium pay-TV outlet, with a potential price of $15 a month.
On Old School Raw in January 2014, WWE ran teasers promoting an announcement on January 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, later confirming that the announcement concerned the WWE Network. At the Consumer Electronics Show, WWE revealed a comprehensive plan which would see a launch date of February 24, 2014 in the United States. WWE Classics on Demand closed on January 31, 2014 to make way for the WWE Network. A free trial period was offered during the week of the launch. The logo initially used for the WWE Network eventually became the standard logo used by the WWE corporation in August 2014.
In April 2014 ahead of WrestleMania XXX, the Network received acclaim, with The New York Times saying that WWE had "positioned themselves on the cutting edge of Internet television." Later that month, the company announced that the network had 667,000 subscribers, short of the one million subscribers they needed to break even. As WWE's stock fell 50% the following month, Forbes described low subscription numbers as being of "additional concern" for investors after WWE's underwhelming NBCUniversal renewal deal. WWE offered a second free preview week of the WWE Network, which started July 7, in an attempt to sign new subscribers. A second report released at the end of July indicated that the network had reached 700,000 subscribers. WWE's goal was to reach one million subscribers by the end of 2014.
On July 31, 2014, the company announced a 10-year, Canadian distribution deal for WWE content with Rogers Media which will see the company distribute WWE Network as a premium television service. Also on that date, it was announced that the WWE Network would launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain, and the Nordics, among others on August 12, with Italian, Arab, German, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian launches planned for a later date. On October 30, 2014, in an attempt to increase subscription numbers from an announced figure of 731,000, the 6-month subscription requirement was dropped, allowing subscribers the option to cancel at any time. WWE had originally planned to launch the network on October 1 in the United Kingdom, but was delayed for a further month. The launch was confirmed to be taking place at 8 p.m. on November 3; however, 20 minutes prior to the launch, WWE announced that it had been indefinitely delayed. Vince McMahon publicly apologized for the delay. It was announced on January 4, 2015, that the WWE Network would be launching in the UK and Ireland on January 19, 2015, priced at £9.99 and €12.99 respectively, although some customers managed to register as early as January 13.
On January 27, 2015, WWE announced that the WWE Network had reached 1 million subscribers, with Vince McMahon saying that WWE would "remain focused on delivering an outstanding value proposition for ours fans by adding new content and new features in the coming year." On February 12, 2015, WWE announced a five-year partnership with television provider OSN to bring the WWE Network to the Middle East and North Africa as a premium service.
On July 30, 2015, WWE revealed the amount of subscribers for the Network at 1.156 million. This was announced as a part of WWE's financial reporting on the second quarter of the year, which had resulted in their stock price rising past $20.00 after closing on the previous day at $16.48. The total of 1.156 million paid subscribers marked a 13% decrease from the 1.315 million paid subscribers that was stated in the reports for the first quarter of 2015. WWE also revealed, including trial subscribers, they had 1.227 million Network users at the end of the second quarter, and over the entire lifespan of the Network, there have been over 2 million unique subscribers.
The WWE Network launched in India on November 2, 2015. On November 19, a report by market research and consulting firm Park Associates announced that the WWE Network had broken into the top five streaming services and trailed only MLB.tv in the sports category. The WWE announced the network would launch in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Japan on January 5, 2016, followed by Thailand and the Philippines on February 29, 2016.
In April 2017, WWE announced to have a total of 1.949 million subscribers to the WWE Network, of which 1.661 million are paid subscribers. The service has 497,000 international subscribers of which 424,000 are paid.[unreliable source]
The WWE Network is currently available through 185 out of 193 United Nations member states (including all 28 European Union nations) and two observer states such as the Holy See and the State of Palestine. It is also distributed through five non-UN countries: the Republic of China (Taiwan), Cook Islands, Kosovo, Niue and Northern Cyprus.
The service is not available in Abkhazia, the People's Republic of China, (Mainland area outside Hong Kong and Macau), Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Liechtenstein, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Sudan, Syria and Transnistria.
- All WWE pay-per-view events broadcast live.
- WWE Network exclusive events broadcast live.
- WWE NXT - Airs weekly on Wednesdays, including periodic special live episodes.
- Pre-shows for all WWE pay-per-views.
- WWE Talking Smack - A weekly post-show for SmackDown hosted by Renee Young and Shane McMahon, or Daniel Bryan. This is also a post-show for SmackDown Live pay-per-views.
- WWE Raw Talk - A post-show for Raw pay-per-views hosted by Renee Young and Jerry Lawler.
- WWE 205 Live - A one-hour, in-ring program showcasing the cruiserweight division.
- WWE Main Event - Weekly added episodes with three weeks of delay (original broadcast continues to air on Hulu Plus).
- WWE Cruiserweight Classic - Thirty-two of the industry's cruiserweights showcasing the cruiserweight division.
- WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament - A two-day tournament to crown the first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion.
- WWE United Kingdom Championship Special - A 90-minute, in-ring show starring the company's top UK and 205 Live cruiserweight talent.
- The Edge and Christian Show - A comedy series and variety show starring Edge and Christian.
- First Look - A first look at upcoming WWE Home Video releases.
- Stone Cold Podcast - Interview series hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- This Week in WWE - A weekly 30-minute recap of the past week's WWE action, hosted by Scott Stanford and Charly Caruso.
- Bring It to the Table - Peter Rosenberg hosts while two guests debate controversial topics.
- WWE Ride Along - A show following WWE personalities as they drive from city to city.
- WWE Breaking News - Breaking news from WWE.
- Unfiltered with Renee Young - Interview show hosted by Renee Young. Topics discussed include WWE Superstars' wrestling careers and stories, music, and movies.
- Table for 3 - Three WWE personalities share stories over dinner.
- Swerved - A hidden camera prank show featuring WWE performers.
- Camp WWE - A TV-MA animated short-form comedy series with Seth Green.
- WWE Story Time - An animated series featuring WWE Superstars telling stories from the past, narrated by "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
- Holy Foley! - A reality TV show starring Mick Foley and his family.
- WWE Original Specials - Documentaries on WWE personnel and events exclusive to the WWE Network.
- WWE Beyond the Ring - Documentary portions of previously-released WWE DVDs featuring various performers, organizations, and storylines.
- WWE 24 - A show that goes behind the scenes of WWE events and Superstars.
- WWE Music Power 10 - A top 10 WWE Music countdown show.
- Mae Young Classic - A two-day tournament featuring thirty-two of the industry's women wrestlers showcasing the women's division.
- WWE UK Wrestling Show -
- Jerry Springer Too Hot for TV - Jerry Springer hosts this look back at some of WWE's most outrageous and embarrassing moments.
- WWE Legends' House - A reality television series featuring several WWE legends.
- The Monday Night War: WWE vs. WCW - A television series about the Monday Night Wars.
- WWE Slam City - An animated series featuring current WWE talent, based on the Mattel toy line of the same name.
- The WWE List - A fast-paced, interactive series that tallies tweets from the WWE Universe to compile the most unusual lists ever in WWE history.
- WWE WrestleMania Rewind - The first show named to be part of the network; a retrospective look at WrestleMania's memorable moments.
- WWE Countdown - A top-10 countdown show based on interactive fan polls.
- WWE Rivalries - A show documenting rivalries in wrestling.
- Tough Talk - A post-show to Tough Enough hosted by Byron Saxton.
- Legends with JBL - An interview show hosted by John Layfield featuring WWE Legends.
- WWE Culture Shock - Corey Graves reveals a variety of unique venues, customs, music, food, and people as WWE’s tour travels around the world.
- WWE Superstar Ink - Corey Graves asks WWE superstars about the meaning behind their tattoos. Also aired on YouTube.
- WWE Breaking Ground - A special look at the WWE Performance Center and what it takes to become a WWE Superstar.
In addition to previous editions of the original programs listed above:
- Virtually every WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-view event ever produced is available for on-demand streaming. Although WWE promotes the selection as every pay-per-view ever made, a handful of international PPV events have not yet been made available.
- Every episode of Raw (except the episodes aired in the last 30 days)
- Every episode of SmackDown (except the episodes aired in the last 30 days)
- Every episode of WWE Tribute to the Troops
- Every WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony
- Every episode of Saturday Night's Main Event and WWF The Main Event
- Every episode of ECW Hardcore TV
- Every episode of ECW on TNN
- Every episode of WCW Clash of the Champions
- Every episode of WCW Monday Nitro
- Every episode of Tuesday Night Titans with the exception of episode 31
- Every episode of seasons 1-5 of Total Divas
- Every episode of season 1 of Total Bellas
- Every episode of WWE Tough Enough
- Select episodes of WWE Superstars from 2014–2016
- Select episodes of WWF Prime Time Wrestling from 1986–1989
- Select WWE Classics on Demand programming.
- Select episodes of AWA Championship Wrestling from 1986–1988
- Select episodes of Global Wrestling Federation from 1990–1992
- Select episodes of Mid-South Wrestling from 1981–1986
- Select episodes of Smoky Mountain Wrestling from 1994
- Select episodes of WCW Saturday Night from 1985 to 1989
- Select episodes of World Class Championship Wrestling from 1982–1983 and 1985–1987
- Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling (Removed on July 24, 2015 along with his references due to release tape of his racist remarks)
- Stampede Wrestling
- As Seen On YouTube - The best of WWE's YouTube content.
- WWE Quick Hits - A monthly show with extra short clips from various DVDs & WWE Network shows.
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 a general advisory warning is displayed before each airing; it marks the first major airing of Benoit footage or even mention of Benoit in said footage since his murder-suicide in 2007. However, the Benoit tribute episode of Raw is replaced with the episode that aired internationally, a recap of championship matches. 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 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, some instances of expletives, gestures, and all nudity are censored. Many programs were digitized for WWE 24/7 prior to the 2012 settlement with the World Wide Fund for Nature, and thus the "WWF" and the "WWF scratch" logo are censored in some instances. Some original music has been dubbed over with alternate tracks such as the original intro music to Saturday Night's Main Event (May 1985 - Jan 1988 episodes) which originally played "Obsession" by Animotion.
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. Several pay-per-views are copies of their condensed home video releases, rather than the live versions, and so are missing matches.
Impact on PPV 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. Due to the fact that 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. 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." 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." 
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 later released a statement 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." Dish later made a decision to air WrestleMania XXX.
In October 2014, it was reported Mattel, Kmart, and Pepsi would begin advertising on the network starting the week of October 13. Wilson stated that although no commercial breaks will occur during scheduled programming, 30 second adverts would run in between shows, and that one 15 or 30-second advert would be shown prior to every fourth stream for on-demand content.
- List of WWE Network events
- New Japan Pro Wrestling World
- DDT Universe
- UFC Fight Pass
- WWE Classics on Demand
- WWE Network (Canada)
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