Big Hits to Follow: WWE Set to Launch 24/7 Streaming Network
Perhaps one of the biggest issues for cable account holders who'd like to engage in some cable cutting and go to an online diet of media consumption is that of sports. Sports aren't like movies or old episodes of television; such things can be a lot tougher to find online. But several moves in recent days have helped change that picture considerably, and one of the most recent came from the halls of World Wrestling Entertainment, or the WWE. More specifically, the WWE will be launching a 24 / 7 streaming network on Monday, February 24, dubbed the WWE Network, and it will have quite a bit waiting for wrestling fans when it does.
Those somewhat intrigued by this offer will be able to get a one week free trial for acting quickly, and those who get in on the action will have access to a substantial amount of wrestling programming. More specifically, reports indicate that there will be not only items of original programming, but also less common fare like documentaries and assorted reality shows. For those who ever wanted to see wrestling's older days, “classic matches” will also be made available.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this package is the price tag (News - Alert): access is $9.99 a month, which is only a little more expensive than a Netflix or Hulu Plus account, and those who get in get access a reported stockpile of wrestling-related matter that measures over 1,500 hours deep. Additionally, the site will boast all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events, and wrestling buffs will be pleased to note that, at last report, that does include WrestleMania.
The network itself will be available from a host of devices, including the standard PC and laptop as well as Roku, the Xbox 360 (no word on the Xbox One, oddly), both PlayStations 3 and 4, and several other portable devices. The WWE Network will also offer up a supplementary app for live events and other original programming, approximating the same experience that's currently found on other wrestling shows. Those not in the United States but still interested will be pleased to note there are plans to bring the network to several locations by early 2015, including places like Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and many of the Nordic areas.
It's not surprising to see wrestling make this move for several reasons. One, other sports leagues have made an effort at streaming content, like the NFL and Major League Baseball, so seeing wrestling throw its own hat into the strictly metaphorical ring is hardly a shock. Two, the issue of “classic matches” makes a particular amount of sense. Wrestling has been going in one form or another for quite some time, and it's not surprising that fans would want to see some of those great old matches between figures like “Macho Man” Randy Savage or Andre the Giant or the like. Finding those old matches has been difficult in some cases, so consolidating these and just basically opening the doors and standing back should be a welcome development for viewers.
It will be interesting to see just how far the wrestling development goes, and if a streaming alternative for classic wrestling programming can find a sound audience among cable cutters and even those who still have cable but want the older stuff. It's going to take time to fully develop, but the information gained in terms of viewership should have some nice revelations contained within.
Edited by Cassandra Tucker