After years in development, the WWE Network has finally become a reality and will launch on Monday February 24th. The WWE hopes to get the project off to a grandiose start, by bringing some main attractions back to the WWE. This includes The Undertaker and Hulk Hogan. In addition, the WWE is offering a one week free trial to entice fans to purchase the network at $9.99 a month.
On paper, the idea of the WWE Network is a celebrated one. After all, what wrestling fan hasn’t wanted unlimited access to the WWE archives. However, there are some downsides to the WWE Network. Mistakes that could potentially force the WWE Network to become the next XFL.
The first downside to the WWE Network is the conceivable loss of pay per view revenue. Although the subscribers to the network will offset some of the shrinkage, one has to wonder if it will offset the entire loss of a pay per view audience. As of now, the pay per view companies are still transmitting the WWE events. But will they continue transmission once they see their earnings go down? And if the WWE loses traditional pay per view, they will then lose the business of casual viewers who have neither the interest or resources for the WWE Network.
Additionally, choosing to air the WWE Network via web app may help keep more profits in company pockets, but it also puts the network more at risk. Issues with loading content, delayed streams and inaccessible information are very factual problems. These are difficulties that countless high profile websites experience now, including the WWE website. If any of these issues arise with the new WWE Network, backlash will be brutal and potentially tear apart the project. Of course, the WWE may already be aware of this, which is why they are making devotees buy a six month subscription.
Another conceivable side effect to the WWE Network is over saturation. Unlike many professional sports, the WWE does not have an off-season. There is no hiatus. Even now without the WWE Network, wrestling fans hardly have a chance to breathe before another storyline or angle is gorged down their throat. Now that they can experience every storyline in history at the whim of a button, will it be too much to sustain interest? After all, there is a reality to “too much of a good thing.”
Don’t expect the WWE Network to launch without troubles, even possibly having to step back and relaunch. It will be a work in progress for some time. But in the end, only time will tell the tale of success or failure of the WWE Network. And as wrestling fans, we just need to buckle our seat belts and go along for the ride.