WWE, via their market research contractor Intellisurvey, sent out a Fan Council survey recently. The focus is on a possible tiered-pricing plan for the WWE Network, which is a notion the company’s discussed openly on their quarterly investor conference calls for a while now.
What’s interesting about the options as presented in this survey is what could be available on each of the tiers... specifically the highest-priced option which could include:
Access to independent wrestling content such as TNA & Ring Of Honor
You can see a page from the survey which is making the rounds (I found it on r/squaredcircle) below:
There’s some chatter among the internet wrestling community that this is a sign the much discussed WWE purchase of TNA’s tape library is a done deal. While it’s certainly an interesting discussion point, I wouldn’t take it as confirmation - any more than I’d say this means Vince McMahon is buying Ring of Honor (ROH). Nothing is off the table in 2016, but...
WWE also has partnerships with other promotions, such as the WWNLive family (which includes EVOLVE) and some of the European companies William Regal scouted Cruiserweight Classic (CWC) talent from which could slot into an “independent wrestling content” offering just as easily as Impact.
What will probably be of more immediate concern to fans is the possibility they may soon have to pay more for the content they’ve become accustom to getting for $9.99.
The survey includes multiple pages where fans are asked to pick a tier based on different features and pricing structures. You can skim through the various configurations as posted by redditor rflairfan1 here.
Dave Meltzer discussed the model he’s heard is getting the most serious consideration on Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required but recommended), and it wouldn’t change your existing plan - but makes the features mentioned on the new, top tier more important:
Plan 1 would be offered for free and include access to highlight clips of less than five minutes in length, five hours of access to the archives but no live or first-run programming (like NXT or CWC) with commercials.
Plan 2 would cost $4.99 and be limited to phones and tablets. Still no first-run NXT or most PPVs, but would include the “Big Four” PPVs live.
Plan 3 would remain $9.99, and pretty much look like your current subscription.
Plan 4 would be “all-encompassing” at $14.99 and include non-WWE content like WWN, TNA or ROH if deals can be made, VIP & ticket packages, voting for Hall of Fame candidacy, access to signings and meet & greets and other perks.
Meltzer also commented on other content they’re considering creating, like a weekly cruiserweight show, live NXT television tapings and even more regular live events like Beast in the East.
According to Mike Johnson at PWInsider, it’s those new content possibilities we should focus on more than the TNA and ROH name drops. Johnson’s report specifies that mentioning TNA and ROH isn’t a sign WWE is adding those to their library, just that they are well-known brands WWE can use to get feedback. In addition to EVOLVE, he mentions more likely partners as the UK’s PROGRESS and Revolution Pro promotions, or even Chikara, seeing as head man Mike Quackenbush has done some training at the Performance Center, establishing a relationship with Triple H in the process.
Wherever it comes from, Insider’s sources say creating and acquiring new content for the streaming service is one of WWE’s top current priorities.
It’s a lot of information to digest, and it will probably take Vince and his team some time to gather and collate it before making any decisions.
What do you think it all means? Would you pay more (or less) if given these kinds of options? Is WWE Network distributing other company’s product a good or bad thing?