WWE goes OTT with streaming network
Professional wrestling entertainment company WWE has announced the forthcoming launch of WWE Network, the spectacle’s first-ever 24/7 streaming network. The service goes live in the US on February 24th featuring all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events – including WrestleMania – valued at more than $600 per year for $9.99 per month with a six-month commitment. WWE Network promises groundbreaking original programming, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches and more than 1,500 hours of VoD at launch.
Fans can subscribe to WWE Network beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on February 24th, at WWE.com, and for a limited time will be offered a free one week trial. WWE Network, the first 24/7 network delivered directly to fans through OTT digital distribution, will be available on desktops and laptops via WWE.com. WWE Network will also be available through the WWE App on: Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices; Android devices such as Samsung Galaxy; iOS devices such as Apple iPad and iPhone; Roku streaming devices; Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony PlayStation 4; and Xbox 360. Availability on additional devices, including Xbox One and select Smart TVs, will follow this summer.
“Today is a historic day for WWE as we transform and reimagine how we deliver our premium live content and 24/7 programming directly to our fans around the world,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “WWE Network will provide transformative growth for our company and unprecedented value for our fans.”
WWE Network will also offer fans a second screen experience for all original programming and live events via the WWE App, similar to the interactive fan experience currently available for flagship TV programmes Raw and SmackDown.
WWE collaborated with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) to build a powerful solution for delivering 24/7 WWE content to fans. MLBAM will provide its technology services, including video streaming infrastructure, application development and operational support for reliable cross-platform distribution.
MLBAM has been at the forefront of streaming technology for more than a decade, powering its own live video subscription product since 2002. Last year, MLBAM managed live video content for more than 25,000 events, covering 80,000 hours of broadcast programming, across its sports and entertainment partners.
“We applaud WWE for this bold, timely and strategic move to fully optimise the power and potential of live entertainment,” said Bob Bowman, President and CEO, MLBAM. “We are proud to work with WWE to help provide its millions of loyal fans with unencumbered access to distinctive and engaging live content across the devices they use most.”
WWE Network is scheduled to launch in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.
WWE Network will officially launch with the live Monday Night Raw Post-Show on February 24th at 11:06 p.m. ET, and fans will instantly have access to the most comprehensive WWE VoD library upon signing up, including hundreds of hours of content from ECW and WCW. In addition to live Raw and SmackDown pre- and post-shows every week, new programming including a live studio show and additional on-demand content will be added in the future.
All episodes of original programming on WWE Network will be available on demand immediately after they premiere, allowing viewers to watch on their schedule.