In a move that sent positive shockwaves through the fanbase, WWE announced WWE Network this week. The new streaming service will offer every single pay-per-view as well as countless hours of classic matches to subscribers for the (amazingly) sensible price of $9.99 a month.
WWE Network will be available through the web, mobile devices like iOS and Android, streaming devices like Roku and Smart TVs, as well as the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Starting on Feb. 24, after the conclusion of that Monday's WWE Raw, those who signed up will gain instant access to the WWE's on-demand library.
“Today is a historic day for WWE as we transform and reimagine how we deliver our premium live content and 24/7 programming directly to our fans around the world,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “WWE Network will provide transformative growth for our company and unprecedented value for our fans."
From that point on, every single one of WWE's PPV events will be available, including 30-minute pre- and post-show events. The same type of 30-minute show will also air on WWE Network during Monday Night Raw and SmackDown every week. Additionally, WWE is planning a host of new original programming designed specifically for its streaming service. Among those shows will be WWE Legends House, a reality show where former superstars must try to live together under the same roof, WWE NXT, a showcase for the rising stars in the company's talent pool, and The Monday Night War, a new show based around retelling the history of the early '90s rivalry between the WWE and WCW.
There's a six-month commitment required when you first sign up, but considering individual PPV events run around $60 for the HD broadcast to begin with, getting six months of programming for that same fee isn't such a hard pill to swallow. While the UFC instituted a similar service this past December, UFC Fight Pass still requires subscribers to purchase the main PPV events separately every month. It's also not available on consoles just yet, either. Specific fight cards were designed to air just on UFC Fight Pass, but thus far those events haven't had as much star power (or title fights). You are still paying $9.99 a month for streaming (though there's no minimum commitment), plus ~$55 for each major event UFC offers on PPV. What WWE is doing could change the game when it comes to PPV. Streaming is clearly a focus, and while Raw and SmackDown aren't leaving cable any time soon, that WWE sees online viewing as a viable source of income for the future could have a dramatic impact on the likes of MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA, too.