Richard Reacts To 3 Reasons WWE Network Will Fail

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Jake Mann of The Motley Fool penned an article titled "3 Reasons the WWE Network Will Fail" that was published on Tuesday. I completely disagree with the article and will do my best to unpack why below:

* Mann asserts a "version" of the WWE Network "has flopped before" and breaks down the fact WWE 24/7 only had 115,000 subscribers and makes a sweeping assumption that this is all that is interested in the company's archived footage. I'll argue WWE 24/7 was poorly promoted and had limited distribution and accessibility. Pro wrestling is how I make a living and even I didn't have interest in WWE 24/7.

* The author wrote the numbers don't add up, writing "most sources cite" the WWE Network break even point is 1 million subscribers. We can stop there for a second as there is no need for "sources." WWE has emphatically stated 1,000,000 subscribers is the break even point and anything under that, they'll view as an investment. WWE hopes to reach 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014 to consider the launch successful.

* Mann goes on to take Wrestlemania buys from last year and WWE 24/7 subscribers as a basis for a claim to assert 1,000,000 subscribers is not possible, considering the company will have to have more subscribers than Wrestlemania buyers last year. Wrestlemania carries a hefty price tag that even the most hardcore fan can have trouble financing. The WWE audience is much larger than that and while Mann points to the company's social media followers, I'll point to the weekly audience that watches Raw. WWE has an audience of more than 4 million that watches Raw in the United States each week, which is proof alone there are more than enough people engaged that will have at least *some* interest in WWE Network.

* The final point the author makes is one I somewhat agree with. Mann mentions technical issues having the potential to derail WWE Network and that's absolutely true. In fact, most people that will agree with this guy will point to the issues they've had in week one. However, the issues I've experienced have been very limited. Some have had a harder time than others and while I've clearly been one of the lucky ones, issues with the live feed have been even more limited. WWE cannot afford to have issues during Wrestlemania but I expect them to be resolved.

You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

To read the counterpoint article titled "The WWE Network Will Succeed," click here

You all know where I stand but I will admit it is a 180 from my initial position. My change has to do with distribution and price. When Vince McMahon was pushing to launch WWE Network as a traditional cable/satellite network and the providers didn't want to touch it, I didn't think there was any way it would work. It's hard enough to get people to watch and if you can't get on the systems in the first place, it's going to be an uphill battle. However, by launching over the top, that's not the case. Anyone has the ability to subscribe. That wouldn't be the case if it were limited to traditional distribution.

The former also helps the latter. Because distribution is over the top and not controlled by the cable and satellite providers, the price is lower. In fact, $9.99/month still seems too good to be true, however, even if they had a 100% price increase, it'd still be half of what they were charging for pay-per-views. I'll argue that a larger percentage of WWE's fan base will be interested in WWE Network because it's easier to access and more affordable.

What's your position? Feel free to sound off in the comment area below.

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  • Dustyn

    I think over time, especially once it gets launched elsewhere in the world, it will be a huge success. I live in Canada, so it’s not available to use yet. As soon as it is launched here, I will be signing up. Through the year, for PPVs, I always order the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, and Summerslam. Those three PPVs alone cost MORE than a whole year subscription to the WWE Network. With WWE’s vast video archive of over 100,000 hours, you can be a subscriber for life and never get tired of it (theoretically). In the above article, I disagree with everything. Like Richard, I agree with the technical problems there were/are. Something this huge will take some time to get all the kinks out, and get it running smoothly. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes with WrestleMania.

  • I don’t take “The Fool” seriously. Someone will post an article like the one above and then, a day later, another writer will post one that totally contradicts it. Here’s the contradictory article:

    • B

      That’s because they are two different writers doing a point-counterpoint series of articles. It even says so in that article. It provides multiple perspectives for readers.

  • B

    All new products, especially that deal with servers and a large influx of users, will have issues. Netflix is huge and will have an issue here or there. WWE Network being overwhelmed indicates to me that there is more interest to start with than they believed. And why not? I order one PPV a year, IF that. I subscribed to the Network as soon as possible just for the access to past PPVs. Getting all the new ones was icing on the cake and I am sure that I am not alone. I would call myself more of a casual fan now. I stay up to date on news, but I do not watch very often. Now I’ve started watching a lot more recent content because of the Network. I see a very bright future for it indeed.

  • I love the WWE Network. I was completely glued to my TV last weekend.

  • Jason

    I can only speak from my position, and I am not thrilled with the WWE Network thus far. I had the free trial and cancelled with 2 days remaining. The issues I had with it was getting the archived video and live feed to work correctly. When I would attempt to access the archive, I would constantly get messages that said, “This content is unavailable.” The only time I could get it to work correctly was in the middle of the night. With the live feeds, I was met with constant freezes and buffering. I am connected at 20MBps with just 1 other computer on the home network at the same time. Plus, I can stream Hulu, Netflix, and/or Amazon Prime on my TV, blu-ray player, and 2 computers at the same time with no issues, so I know those issues are not on my end. And I want to clarify what I mean by live feeds. I am talking about “Raw Backstage” and the second screen and events like that. During all of the live events, I had issues with the app working correctly.

    Then I move onto the content. The content is way too limited for right now, especially if it’s not going to work correctly. Yes, they have every PPV in the history of the WWE/F, WCW, and ECW posted. But if they aren’t going to work correctly, what’s the point? How about adding episodes of Raw, Smackdown, ECW, and WCW? As of right now, You have the first 10 episodes of Raw and Smackdown and all of 2012-2014, up to 4 weeks ago. There is no WCW or ECW television programming. So for me, the content is too limited and needs to be massively expanded upon. The WWE Network is also very difficult to navigate to find what you are looking for when it comes to archived shows.

    I don’t want to see the WWE Network fail and I have huge expectations for it, but I think they were ill prepared for a launch of this magnitude. I can see them succeeding in the long run, but they definitely need to improve the quality of the service, especially if they want 1 million plus subscribers using it. I do have full intentions of resigning up for the service, but only once they have the issues resolved and working correctly. I am just hoping that with the live content issues they are having, which appear to be bandwidth related, they are prepared for the onslaught that is going to come with Wrestlemania. That will be the first true test of the WWE Network.

  • Matt

    I’ve had some random issues with WWE Network. The first being Main Event playing from last night. I wasn’t home to tune in live and tried watching it around midnight and it gave me an error. No big deal because I tried the live feed and an archived show and both worked fine. These little bugs are just that; little bugs. It is expected. Even Netflix crashes from time to time. I, like many, worry about Wrestlemania having lag issues or the feed dropping all together. However, they are doing NXT arrival, Main Event and probably more live programs going forward to work out all the kinks. I think it will be fine. They haven’t released many numbers yet but I have a feeling it’s doing more than okay and once they launch internationally, it’ll be huge.

    • Guest

      Im still trying to figure out where the hell is thr MNR Replays. Smh!

  • I’ve had a few issues worth the network, but nothing more than I’ve had with Hulu Plus and Netflix. It’s been a bit cranky, but it’s the first week, and that’s why they launched it now and not on WM, or even the week before. They needed to get the bugs or and seem to be doing so.

  • xxdayoffatexx

    120 bucks for a full year? Cable TV alone is costing that much per month. You are telling many subscribers that they can pretty much drop their cable tv. In return, get the direct on-demand product they want similar to Netflix/Hulu/Etc. So, I don’t HAVE to watch RAW on mondays now? I can watch it when I want on the WWE Network? So if I want Wednesday Night RAW, I can have it

    • Bob’s Diner

      Actually, not quite; Raw and Smackdown aren’t added to the network until 30 days after they air on television. Part of the deal with Hulu

  • Bob’s Diner

    i don’t view the network at all similar to the 24/7 service they used to offer. After it was announced. this service was an immediate hit with fans and created a huge amount of interest. While there are obviously issues, I can’t imagine they will have trouble getting the minimum 1,000,000 subscriptions needed. i know many fans that refuse to purchase anything from WWE but are still excited by the idea of purchasing the network

  • John

    I really don’t see WWE getting anywhere close to 1 million subscribers. Not because the service isn’t worth it but more so because that number is just insane.

  • Guest

    One thing is to get people to sign up initially…another one is if they keep their sub…I think it’s possible that with all the hype and ad money pumped in there will be a peak of a mio subs at the beginning, but the number will continually decrease afterwards…

  • Kevin

    With a stock jump yesterday of 3.00$ per share there has to be something correctly done. I think the wwe network is genius and will only improve as time goes on. For any stock buyers out there, I still think the stock is a hot buy.

  • Jared

    So I can pay $10 a month for WWE Network, or I can just watch any pay-per-view I want through youtube? I think I know what I’ll do. Basically I’m paying for second rate pay-per-views and what will probably be one of the worst wrestlemania’s of all time if I get this. All the old pay-per-views are on youtube for free.

  • JJ

    If only WWE would stop being greedy and just offer it for $30 a year or something, $10 a month is too much regardless of what’s offered. They could easily cut the price and make plenty profit.

    • Tail

      It’s Vince McMahon, remember?

  • Tim

    I have friends that think wrestling these days is horrible and refuse to watch it. But loved the glory days and are still getting the network. I just found out, that the xbox 360 has been shafted. It only has wwe stuff and only the latest ppv. While the ps4 has millions of things. Sadly no nitro tho.

  • Bryan Smith

    Other than the issue with signing in on my Xbox 360, which was resolved, I haven’t had too many problems with the WWE Network. I can’t afford 50-60 bucks a pop for PPV’s. So 10 bucks is something a lot more worth sacrificing a month to get new stuff and a lot of the old stuff I watched as a kid.