In May, we broke here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premim that YouTube approached WWE about a deal that would see the WWE Network launch as a YouTube exclusive channel that was streamed live 24 hours a day. As we reported then, Vince McMahon was not willing to go the online distribution route but it might look more appearing if the network continued to run into stumbling blocks.
Well, Vince is finally starting to reach that point, however, the WWE Network is by no means canceled. As things currently stand, WWE is trying to reopen talks with YouTube and there is also a substantial offer on the table from Hulu (reportedly in the $10-15 million range per year, similar to the previous offer from YouTube).
The goal is still to get enough clearances on cable and satellite systems to launch the WWE Network as a premium subscription network but WWE is struggling to get the operators to commit. While there are several reasons, the biggest is the operators feel they'll end up with less money overall from their half of the subscription revenue than they currently get from their half of the monthly PPVs.
Therefore the plan right is is to figure out the best possible deal from either YouTube or Hulu and see if they can play them against each other and then see if the threat of moving most of their pay-per-views off cable and satellite entirely in favor of a YouTube or Hulu deal will be enough to get more of the operators to cave and agree to carry WWE Network as a premium subscription service despite their fear of it eating into PPV revenue.
Ultimately it's a dangerous game but WWE is desperate. The worst possible outcome would be for word to spread that plans for the WWE Network is canceled and cost them possible opportunities to partner with YouTube or Hulu.