This week on Monday Night Raw, WWE officially announced the launch date of the WWE Network Channel in 2012.
Previously, the WWE Network 2011 date was touted around 18 months ahead of time to investors, only to be delayed. With regard to the plans of WWE for their own TV channel, it is interesting to see what vision Vince McMahon is pursuing.
WWE Network Wiki
Remember WWE Classic on Demand aka WWE 24/7 On Demand? It’s already available on digital cable, to moderate success.
It would appear that the WWE Network will be a revamp and upscale version with regards to distributions to a wider audience across more platforms.
Going by the description of the WWE Network Channel during the commercial on Raw, the content will primarily consist of footage from the WWE video archive library.
For a long time, the company has been thinking about maximizing the huge wrestling video library which is currently distributed via the WWE Classic on Demand and WWE Home Videos.
The WWE Network TV is expected to be available on cable systems next year.
WWE Network Channel Ultimate goal: A dedicated channel for Sports Entertainment.
The first public discussion came in Summer 2009 when Vince Mcmahon reveal that he was launching the WWE Network in 2011 and it would be on the basic tier of cable systems.
After a false start, the plans are concrete and for the first time the company officially announces the WWE Network is coming in 2012. The announcement was made during the USA Network show “Monday Night Raw” and also on its own website.
Hardcore wrestling fans will be aware that the WWE video library archives date back to 1940’s and over 100,000 hours of footage from WWE. WCW, ECW, AWA and more defunct promotions.
The WWE Network content is definitely deep enough to run 24/7, fans of the Attitude Era would enjoy rewinding to ongoing broadcast of the 90’s Monday Night Wars.
The WWE Network shows will likely also consist of internet programs (NXT, Superstars) and international TV shows like Bottom Line, Afterburn, etc and even WWE Studio Films.
The main factor for the success of the WWE Network 2012 launch is to receive the support from the cable industry
Whether the WWE Network fail or succeed will depend largely on how many cable/satellite systems it is available on, a problem that the NFL network has been dealing with for years.
To counter this, the WWE Network will be a hybrid of TV, Online and Mobile distributions. The company has already been in discussions to establish the WWE Network on Xbox, Roku and other similar online providers.
Behind the scenes for months. the WWE Network 2012 launch date has been planned for months with around 140 WWE Network jobs position planned in the state of Connecticut (WWE HQ).
By running their own wrestling channel, the company may even has the option of running “Raw” and “Smackdown.” on the WWE Network channel.
Monday Night Raw current run on USA Network while Friday Night Smackdown is broadcast by Syfy. It is currently unclear whether the two network shows continue to remain on those network, or whether the WWE TV shows will be exclusively for WWE Network channel.
It remains very doubtful at this point, given that the USA Network and Syfy Network pay good money for the programs, which regularly wins the first place among the cable broadcasts of the day. For WWE, the free to air TV programs also provide strong advertising for the company.
For “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night Smackdown” to be exclusive to the WWE Network channel, it will mean that the WWE will only be available to paying customer, a risky option in the current market.
Instead, the WWE network is more likely to operate from the rich video archive that the owner Vince McMahon accumulate over the years (WWWF, WWF, WWE) or even produce (XFL, WBF).
Considering that the WWE Network prices/pricing is still up in the air, it will be interesting to see where the company position itself in the paid TV channel market.
Given there’s not much information yet – sources are assuming that the WWE Network 2012 launch date apply towards the end of the year 4th quarter period.
Industry insiders also predict that the WWE Network content will expand in the area of fictional entertainment.
The WWE produces, for example under the WWE Films label their own movies, like “The Marine” or “See No Evil,” and recently announced plans for more scripted productions.
For several years, WWE has look at American providers of on-demand services, special programs, classic on demand, The company also expanded internationally with tours in Europe, Mexico and even recently in China as part of the live event business.
Ironically, this is where Shane Mcmahon (son of Vince Mcamhon) who left the company in 2010, could lend a helping hand to the family business. Shane is currently CEO of China Broadband, a provider of of broadband and digital services in China.
Insiders believe that the WWE Network is the next big step from Vince Mcmahon to continue moving WWE inc from a pure wrestling company into an entertainment company.
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