WWE Network

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WWE Network
WWENetworkLogo.png
Launched February 24, 2014 (2014-02-24)
United States
August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)
220 countries
January 13, 2015 (2015-01-13)
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Italy
March 24, 2015 (2015-03-24)
Pakistan, India and Middle East
November 2, 2015 (2015-11-02)
North Africa
January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)
Japan, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
Owned by WWE
Picture format HDTV (1080i 16:9)
Slogan WWE Network is the ONLY place to stream every WWE pay-per-view live
Language English
Broadcast area Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, CIS, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Middle East (incl. Arab League), Nepal, New Zealand, North Africa, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Website www.wwenetwork.com
Availability
Satellite
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 BAMTech.[1] The concept was originally announced in 2011, 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, Spain, Turkey, the Nordics, the Middle East, and North Africa, among other countries starting on August 17.[2] 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,[3][4] the WWE Network consists of both a 24-hour linear streaming channel and on-demand programming from WWE's library.

History[edit]

Development and U.S. launch[edit]

In September 2011, WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network in 2011 as a pay-TV channel.[5] 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.[6][7]

As the result of an online poll, WrestleMania Rewind was chosen as a name for a new WWE Network show on October 17, 2011,[8] 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.[9] 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;[10] 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.[11]

On Old School Raw in January 2014, WWE ran teasers promoting an announcement on January 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas,[12] later confirming that the announcement concerned the WWE Network.[13] At the Consumer Electronics Show, WWE revealed a comprehensive plan which would see a launch date of February 24, 2014 in the United States.[14][15][16] WWE Classics on Demand closed on January 31, 2014 to make way for the WWE Network.[17] A free trial period was offered during the week of the launch,[18] the logo initially used for the WWE Network eventually became the standard logo used by the WWE corporation in August 2014.[19]

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."[20] Later that month, the company announced that the network had 667,000 subscribers, short of the one million subscribers they needed to break even,[21] 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.[22] WWE offered a second free preview week of the WWE Network, which started July 7, in an attempt to sign new subscribers.[23] A second report released at the end of July indicated that the network had reached 700,000 subscribers.[24] WWE's goal was to reach one million subscribers by the end of 2014.[24][25]

Expansion[edit]

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.[26] 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,[27][28] 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.[29][30] WWE had originally planned to launch the network on October 1 in the United Kingdom, but was delayed for a further month,[31] the launch was confirmed to be taking place at 8 p.m. on November 3;[32] however, 20 minutes prior to the launch, WWE announced that it had been indefinitely delayed.[33][34] Vince McMahon publicly apologized for the delay,[35] 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,[36] although some customers managed to register as early as January 13.[37]

On January 27, 2015, WWE announced that the WWE Network had reached 1 million subscribers,[38] 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."[39] 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.[40]

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.[41]

The WWE Network launched in India on November 2, 2015,[42][43] 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.[44] 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.[45][46][47]

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.[48]

Availability[edit]

Availability of the WWE Network globally.
  Available
  Unavailable
  No information

The WWE Network is currently available through 186 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, Artsakh, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Sudan, Syria and Transnistria.

In late 2017, Liechtenstein and China were added to the list of non-available countries[49], however the WWE Network is still available in the Special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Programming[edit]

Original programming[edit]

WWE events[edit]

Current shows[edit]

  • The Edge and Christian Show - A comedy series and variety show starring Edge and Christian.
  • 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.
  • First Look - A first look at upcoming WWE Home Video releases.
  • 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 Corey Graves and John "Bradshaw" Layfield 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.
  • Southpaw Regional Wrestling - A miniseries based on a southern wrestling promotion set in the year 1987. Also airs on YouTube.
  • Table for 3 - Three WWE personalities share stories over dinner.
  • 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 documentary show that goes behind the scenes of WWE events and Superstars.
  • WWE 365 - A documentary series that reviews a year in the career of a WWE talent.
  • WWE Music Power 10 - A top 10 WWE Music countdown show.
  • WWE Superstar Ink - Corey Graves asks WWE Superstars about the meaning behind their tattoos. Also airs on YouTube.
  • Straight to the Source - An interview show hosted by Corey Graves.
  • WWE Photo Shoot - A show where WWE Superstars and Legends sit down to explain the stories behind photos of their careers and lives. Also airs on YouTube.
  • WWE Chronicle - A documentary series that chronicles a WWE Superstar and their journey through personal interviews and candid moments. Also airs on YouTube.
  • Something Else to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard - Interview show hosted by Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson.[52]
  • WWE Collections Spotlight - A preview show that offers a sampling of exclusive WWE Collections that are available on the WWE Network.[53]
  • WWE Marquee Matches - Prominent matches in WWE history are showcased.[54]

Upcoming shows[edit]

Former shows[edit]

Collections[edit]

WWE Network offers "WWE Collections", which are video packages of memorable characters and storylines.[65] Currently there are 61 available collections on the service, with the "Best of Stone Cold vs. Mr McMahon" parts 1 and 2 both appearing together.

Current collections[edit]

  • AJ Styles: Beyond Phenomenal
  • Alexa Bliss: Five Feet Of Fury
  • Andre the Giant
  • Asuka: The Undefeated Empress
  • Batista Unleashed
  • Becoming The Rock
  • Becky Lynch: Straight Fire
  • Best of Stone Cold vs. Mr. McMahon Part I
  • Best of Stone Cold vs. Mr. McMahon Part II
  • Best of WWE Network
  • Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
  • Bret vs Shawn: The Rivalry
  • Daniel Bryan's Greatest Moments
  • Destruction of the Shield
  • Dusty Rhodes: The American Dream
  • DX: Are You Ready?
  • Eddie Guerrero: Viva La Raza!
  • Edge: You Think You Know Me?
  • Finn Balor: Worldwide Sensation
  • Goldberg: Who's Next?
  • Hall of Fame: Class of 2018
  • Hell in a Cell
  • Kurt Angle: It's True, It's True
  • Lesnar: The Road To The Undisputed Title
  • Ladder Match: Reaching For Glory
  • The Legacy of Shane McMahon
  • Mickie James: Crazy Sweetheart
  • Money in the Bank
  • New to WWE Network (changes regularly)
  • New Classic Content (changes monthly)
  • The New Day: Feel The Positivity
  • Patterson 'N Brisco: The Stooges
  • Piper's Pit: Born to Controversy
  • Randy Savage: Cream of the Crop
  • RAW: 25 - 100-76
  • RAW: 25 - 75-51
  • RAW: 25 - 50-26
  • RAW: 25 - 25-01
  • Razor Ramon: Oozing Machismo
  • Ric Flair: Forever The Man
  • Ric Flair: Stylin' and Profilin
  • Sami Zayn: Never Be The Same
  • The Rise of John Cena
  • Sammartino: The Legend Lives
  • Shawn Michaels: Mr. Wrestlemania
  • Shinsuke Nakamura: The Rock Star
  • Sting: The Icon Defined
  • The Bar: Sheamus and Cesaro
  • The Four Horsewomen of NXT
  • The Godfather: All Aboard
  • The NXT Takeover Collection
  • The WarGames Collection
  • Three Faces of Foley
  • TLC Tag Teams
  • Tribute to the Troops
  • Trish and Lita: Evolutionary
  • Undertaker: Dawn Of The Deadman
  • WWE Match of the Year 2017
  • WrestleMania Monday
  • Wrestlemania Theater
  • WWE Shorts

Removed collections[edit]

  • Chyna: Ninth Wonder of the World
  • Best of Swerved Season One
  • The Canadian Collection
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (removed December 2017)[66]
  • Hall of Fame: Class of 2017
  • WrestleMania Show Stealers
  • Subscriber's Choice (changed quarterly, removed September 2017)[67]
  • George 'The Animal' Steele (removed October 2017)[68]
  • The Incomparable Mr. Fuji (removed October 2017)[68]
  • Jimmy Snuka: The Superfly (removed October 2017)[68]
  • The Cruiserweight Anthology (removed December 2017)
  • Gravest Matches Ever (removed December 2017)
  • Randy Orton: Apex Predator (removed December 2017)
  • ECW Barely Legal Revisited (removed January 2018)
  • Colorful Characters (removed February 2018)
  • Greatest Matches Ever (removed February 2018)[69]
  • Celebrating Black History (removed March 2018)[70]
  • WWE Flashback Friday (changes weekly) (removed May 2018)[71]
  • WWE Hidden Gems (moved to Vault section)[72]

Repeat/archival programming[edit]

In addition to previous editions of the original programs listed above, the network includes many other previously aired events.

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; it marks the first major airing of Benoit footage or even mention of Benoit in said footage since his murder-suicide in 2007.[73] However, the Benoit tribute episode of Raw is replaced with the episode that aired internationally, a recap of championship matches. Also, Vengeance: Night of Champions in 2007 removes all references to Benoit during the ECW Championship match. 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.[74] Matches called with Jesse Ventura on commentary, which had previously been dubbed over due to a 1991 lawsuit, are available with the original commentary.[75]

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,[76][77] some original music has been dubbed over with alternate tracks such as the original intro music to Saturday Night's Main Event (May 1985 - January 1988 episodes) which originally played "Obsession" by Animotion.[78]

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.[79] Several pay-per-views are copies of their condensed home video releases, rather than the live versions, and so are missing matches.[80]

Pay-per-views[edit]

Almost every WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-view (PPV) event ever produced is available for on-demand streaming.[75] Although WWE promotes the selection as every pay-per-view ever made, a handful of international PPV events have not yet been made available,[81] this includes mostly foreign broadcast events such as WCW's Millennium Final, When Worlds Collide, Collision in Korea and the Japan Supershows, however it also includes some aired domestically such as Nitro Girls Swimsuit Calendar Special and No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie.

WWF/WWE home video[edit]

In February 2018 the WWE released 38 videos under the header "WWE home video classics" which included various previous home video releases that had been originally released under Coliseum Video.[82]

WWF/WWE programming[edit]

JCP/WCW programming[edit]

ECW programming[edit]

Other promotions[edit]

Non-wrestling content[edit]

Additional content from WWE Libraries, which has a library of over 100,000 hours of programming, will be added over time.[88]

Removed content[edit]

Impact on pay-per-view 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, we believe the time is now for a WWE Network."[92]

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."[93] 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." [94]

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."[95] Dish later made a decision to air WrestleMania XXX.[96] Dish declined to offer WrestleMania 31 and 32 but did offer WrestleMania 33 in 2017.[97]

Advertising[edit]

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 of on-demand content.[98][99]

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