Snails move faster than WWE in its planning to launch its very own network but there's a good reason for the company to stay patient in its approach.
Distribution is hard to come by.
In running a feature story on the troubles WWE has run into so far, the LA Times expanded on the problems the promotion has faced getting its product out to the masses in its preferred commercial cable channel. One issue is there's already far too much content available with Monday Night Raw now spanning three hours, Friday Night Smackdown clocking in at two, and a new prime time show scheduled for Ion here soon. That's without even mentioning Saturday Morning Slam, another weekly show.
"Clearly the cable operators didn’t view what they brought to market as compelling enough," remarked analyst Brad Safalow in an interview with the Times.
That's forced a change of game plan, with WWE switching its focus to a premium pay cable channel much like HBO. It would be commercial free and subsist on rates of anywhere between $10-$15 per month, per subscriber.
A steep price, no doubt, but it would likely mean moving nearly every pay-per-view (PPV) outside of WrestleMania to the new channel. The shows would still be offered on PPV, of course, but viewers would have an extra option. Essentially, you could pay around $15 a month instead of $50, assuming you pay for each month's PPV.
Based on subscriber numbers to the WWE YouTube channel that launched within the last year, among other factors, Safalow believes WWE could "add as much as $141.6 million in revenue" by 2014.
That brings me to you, Cagesiders. Because you represent a segment of the audience that is closer to hardcore than casual, would you be willing to pay rates like that for an all WWE channel? Or is that digging a little too deep in your pockets?