The WWE Network, which seemed like an expensive idea that WWE wouldn't be able to get off the ground, could now be on the verge of coming to fruition, according to f4wonline.com.
That's thanks to interest in carrying the proposed channel from industry heavyweight DirecTV, which has 20 million subscribers and would be a great starting platform to launch the network from.
However, getting DirecTV onboard will require positive feedback from a survey the satellite service provider has issued to customers in order to gauge how much interest they have in subscribing to the WWE network.
The big selling point of the network is that it may air every non-WrestleMania pay-per-view on the WWE calendar, an expansion of the idea where only the 'B-show' PPV events would be broadcast. As Dave Meltzer noted, if that indeed takes place, then this would be an extremely high risk venture, due to it "cannibalising" their domestic PPV business.
Clearly, from the questionnaire sent out, DirecTV wanted to discover how valuable carrying the PPVs on the network would be, asking "how often viewers ordered PPVs and whether they would order the PPVs if they didn't have access to the channel". Given that the WWE Network is still set to be an interactive premium subscription channel, without the incentive of getting almost all WWE PPVs at a knockdown monthly price, I can't see it being a viable entity when there's already over six hours a week of WWE programming on other cable outlets.
The obvious question, "how much would you be willing to pay for the WWE Network?", was also posed. The price points being considered are $12.99, $14.99, $16.99, $19.99, $24.99 and $29.99 a month. There's an obvious trade off here, as the cheapest price would obviously get the most subscribers, but might not raise the most revenue. In the past, it was estimated that a charge of $14.99 would require approximately 1.05 million subscribers to break even when you throw in the lost revenue from pay-per-view.
Other than possibly throwing in the Royal Rumble, SummerSlam and Survivor Series PPVs, there were no surprises in the proposed content. The lineup currently talked about includes the reality shows mentioned previously like WWE Legends' House, programs that were formerly on WWE Classics on Demand like the Legends Of Wrestling roundtables and the Monday Night Wars, replays of their first run programming like Raw and Smackdown, documentaries they've already made and obviously lots of digitised footage from their huge tape library. The only new idea was the possibility of WWE themed game shows.
This should mean that Vince McMahon will finally have a big announcement about the WWE Network for their stockholders at their Fourth Quarter Results conference call on Feb. 28th. We'll bring you more official news on their plans then, Cagesiders.