Pro Wrestling Since 1997

Menu

Column: WWE Network vs. Pay-Per-View



WWE Network

- Wrestling Soap Box: WWE Network vs. Pay-Per-View

 

The WWE Network is the talk of the town and everyone is making their own judgment. Will this usher in a new era for wrestling and beyond or is it the next XFL? It’s too early to predict the extent that such an undertaking will reach. However, it is clear that cable and satellite providers are going to take a financial loss because this network will change the landscape of Pay-Per-View in one form or another.

Growing up, I hated missing Pay-Per-View events as my parents could only afford a handful a year. Today, as an adult, I’m only interested in watching Summer Slam, Royal Rumble, and WrestleMania. The other nine events are nothing special and not worth the suggested retail price. A lot of fans feel this way which is why the buy rates have dropped over the years. In response to the network announcement, DirecTV stated the audience for WWE events “has been steadily declining, and this new low-cost competitive offering will only accelerate this trend.”

Some believe the pay-per-view event model of distributing content is out dated. I think it is simply a matter of today’s WWE product being antiquated for the private telecast. The company has found their niche with the PG era and they’ve gained a more respectable business reputation and access to new revenue streams as a result. The trade-off is that they’re handcuffed creatively which has led to more emphasis towards television than pay-per-view.

It makes sense considering millions of people watch Raw and Smackdown, but the content that goes with a PG rating has made it so that paying for matches that air on TV several times a year is not as appealing as it once was. Floyd Mayweather will always draw high numbers on PPV because it is the only way you can see him fight. Plus, the dynamic of Boxing doesn’t change. The dynamic of WWE does and their current direction has made it so professional wrestling no longer lends itself to pay-per-view.

WWE Network is a wrestling fan’s dream, but there is one thing the company must do to ensure its future. They need to get WrestleMania 30 right. The monthly price tag of $9.99 along with being able to see WrestleMania 30 at no extra cost is the reason many will pay their hard-earned money at launch. If they, even remotely, have the same difficulties as they did with last year’s live stream of WrestleMania, consumer confidence in the network will be lost before it ever gets a chance to spread its wings.

Pay-Per-View is the workhorse that has served Vince McMahon well so I’d be hard pressed to believe that he didn’t see this coming. He has scratched and clawed to make WWE an esteemed global brand in pop culture. McMahon knows he is biting the hand that feeds him by turning the pay-per-view platform into a ridiculously exorbitant option. High risk means high reward and this is arguably the biggest risk he has ever taken with his company. If the network is successful, it changes everything. If it fails, WWE might be at the mercy of cable and satellite providers. No matter how you slice it, something tells me that February 24, 2014 will no doubt be a historic day.

Atlee Greene is an independent wrestler and promoter who has followed professional wrestling for 25 years and writes about wrestling, mixed martial arts, and comic books on his blog, Midnight Logic.

Post Category: News

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    Good article.

  2. Matt says:

    The only major flaw i see is that even if the Network has some problems starting off, i really don’t think that many people are going to go crawling back to the PPV providers when they are probably not about to change the price.

    Seems a lot more practical to give the WWE Network a second chance before that given it’s going to be hell of a lot cheaper. If it bombs entirely (which i doubt, at the very least it’s non-live programming shouldn’t have much of any problem) then yes, but overall i don’t think that many people would easily jump ship.

    And by this assessment i’m thinking about the normal fan demographic. Not the psuedo-one that prevails in smark territory. Since i doubt that many of them even still plan to pay anyone to watch the PPV.

Leave a Reply

Sponsors

Polls

Should Alberto Del Rio sign with TNA?

Loading ... Loading ...

2014 GERWECK.NET Year End Awards: Worst PPV of the year?

Vote View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Should "Mean" Gene Okerlund be inducted into the GERWECK.NET Hall of Fame?

Loading ... Loading ...