WWE Network could lead to the death of the company's pay-per-view business

Michael N. Todaro

If WWE has its way and gets its very own Network up and off the ground, the company believes it can be viable enough financially that it would almost completely do away with its pay-per-view business.

If we're to believe WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios, the start up and success of a WWE Network could very well mean the near complete death of the company's pay-per-view (PPV) business. Indeed, the plan revealed on a recent conference call and earnings report was to have every PPV event outside of WrestleMania move to the Network.

At a subscription cost of roughly $15 a month, many of you Cagesiders felt this was a steal of a deal. And if there are enough of you, PPVs could be going away completely for those who don't want to order the network but still want to watch big events.

From Barrios:

"We believe the value proposition will be much more powerful to subscribe to a network at $12.99 to $14.99, 24/7. ... We're one of the preeminent pay-per-view providers today and our pay-per-views are priced anywhere between $49.95 and $59.95 today. We're going to make that the core of a value proposition with a lot of other new content and put it on a premium network so that our fans can subscribe. And to your question about breakeven, about a million subscribers because the pay-per-view buyers will migrate over to the network. That's our belief. ... You have the pay-per-views, a lot of great content, our library, a lot of retrospective programming that we're doing that's testing really, really well. We're producing it right now. So, over time, I think the pay-per-view does go away."

Essentially, the company is banking on the allure of paying less for PPV events each month will be enough to persuade fans to want to purchase the channel and all the extra programming -- the utilization of WWE's massive library as well as new original shows -- will be the cherry on top.

So by the time it's all said and done, WrestleMania will be the only stand alone PPV event on the schedule. That's assuming, of course, that all the various issues WWE is still facing with getting the Network off the ground, like distribution and cutting deals with major carriers, are finally resolved sometime in the near future.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, does this sound good to you Cagesiders?

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