WWE Network coming in 2012

September 6, 2011

Cageside Seats reports that the WWE Network is coming to cable systems in 2012. A teaser played on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw on USA and a story followed on WWE.com.

Via WWE.com

It’s the WWE Network. And, as the world learned this week, it’s on its way in 2012. All we know is that it’ll be a brand new day for watching the greatest matches, moments and Superstars in sports-entertainment history.

The MMA tie-in here is that it is being reported by the Wrestling Observer that the WWE pushed plans for the announcement of the network as it was feared that the UFC would jump the WWE’s plan and announce its own network. Concerned that it would be perceived as a copycat, the WWE made the announcement this week.

 

Payout Perspective:

There are three things that don’t mesh with the theory that the WWE rushed the announcement of its network. First, the UFC announced its partnership with Fox on August 18th. Secondly, Vince McMahon noted that a WWE Network was coming in an early August company earnings call. While he did not state that it was coming 2012, he did state that the network was imminent. McMahon indicated that prior to the UFC-Fox deal. Finally, Dana White and Vince McMahon met this summer as White paid a visit to McMahon at WWE headquarters. While both blew off the media for the reason for the visit, its now obvious that a portion of their get together was to discuss the future of their respective businesses.

Notwithstanding the theory, the Wall Street Journal story about the UFC seeking to purchase the G4 network, the near-deal with NBC Sports and the Fox deal all point to the possibility that the UFC could have its own network. Seeing the possibility, the WWE felt compelled to make the announcement. Its interesting considering the fact that both White and McMahon have made it clear that the respective organizations are not competitors. UFC is sports, WWE is entertainment according to both heads. Yet, the WWE cannot help but be concerned about the UFC coming to Fox. The Ultimate Fighter series will air the same night as WWE’s Smackdown. As a result, Smackdown aired live last Tuesday with the prospect of moving from Friday to Tuesday presumably to avoid competing. Although both parties claim not to be competitors, both seek the same male demographic audience.

As for the network, the teaser on WWE.com shows the extent to which the WWE could use for programming. The WWE has much more of a library to carry a network as opposed to the UFC. Basically owning the wrestling universe: WWE, WCW, ECW, AWA, et al. there is ample content for a network. Thinking about the network, one could only imagine watching Hulk Hogan’s Rock n Wrestling on Saturday mornings once again.  But, from a business standpoint, there are still many logistics that need to be answered regarding distribution.  One need only look to today’s headline of the Tennis Channel-Cablevision/Verizon dispute over carriage fees and tier placement to see the obstacles ahead for a WWE Network.  We will see how soon, or how late in 2012 the network comes to fruition.

5 Responses to “WWE Network coming in 2012”

  1. el chango on September 7th, 2011 12:42 AM

    WWE fans need to prepare themselves to pay extra for this channel. $10 – $15 a month. If the NFL network got buried on my cable lineup, The WWE Network will be a premium channel.

  2. Bro on September 7th, 2011 8:01 AM

    There are many things wrong with this article.

    WWE and UFC dont seek the same audience. UFC is TV-14, whereas WWE switched to PG long ago. Which are two different demographics. WWE is targetting the kids/family market, whereas UFC is targetting the young-male market which WWE threw away long ago.

    WWE didnt air SmackDown on Tuesdays in fear of TUF on Fridays. It did that because SmackDown is actually taped on Tuesdays (and aired on tape-delay), so that night was a special LIVE broadcast which WWE usually doesnt do. Live always means higher-ratings so there is talk of switching permanently, but it definately isnt out of competition from TUF.

  3. Jason Cruz on September 7th, 2011 8:57 AM

    Bro,

    I think you are correct that a portion of the WWE audience does cater to kids. However, there is definitely a crossover audience that are fans of both the WWE and UFC. And that audience is comprised mainly of young males, a valuable section of audience that advertisers covet.

    As for Smackdown, I am aware that Tuesdays are when it tapes however the special Tuesday night edition which aired live was a likely gage to see how it does on that night. Will it air live each Tuesday night? Not sure. With the “super” shows, there was speculation of converging the two WWE brands as a way to attract more viewers to its product. Still not sure where that is going, but its evident the WWE is shaking things up a bit.

  4. juan on September 7th, 2011 11:22 AM

    WWE owns a vast tape library, yes, but how many people actually want to watch decades old wrestling shows? Or the WWE produced movies which tend to be pretty bad.

    The main usage of old shows seems to be for career overviews of famous wrestlers who spent portions of their career outside of WWE/F proper.

    But even there … the effect is pretty marginal. The lack of reaction/ratings for the recent return of Kevin Nash shows how quickly the wrestling fanbase forgets. Once you are off TV for a while you just vanish down the memory hole.

    WWE produces a fair # of career retrospective DVDs for their older/retiring stars. But they sell them while the wrestler is still active. Cause once they’re gone for a year or two, the fanbase will have lost interest.

    There’s always that niche of a niche hard-core wrestling fan. But that’s a pretty small crowd.

  5. Naquan Gould on February 11th, 2012 4:40 PM

    I think wrestling should try to get their teens back. Go back to tv-14 go back to cursing and get wrestlers that look actually like wrestlers. Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and the miz. And yall stupid little funny things yall be doing like with hornswoggle and with santino marella it looks fake. I mean we kno its fake but don’t make it too fake.

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