MUMBAI: One of the biggest sporting brands ever in the world of entertainment just got bigger. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) under the managerial brilliance of its chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has decided to go over the top (literally).
Today, the Network announced the first-ever 24/7 streaming network that will launch live in the US on Monday, 24 February. It is a one of its kind over the top (OTT) distribution platform that will feature 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. It will also include groundbreaking original programming, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches and more than 1,500 hours of video on demand at launch.
The build-up to the big announcement started two days ago on social media platforms, raising the level of curiosity among the sports fans. However, the announcement came at the Consumer Electronic Show taking place at Las Vegas at 8:00 am (IST) today.
Fans can subscribe to the WWE Network beginning 7:30 pm, 24 February, at WWE.com. For a limited time, the network will be free for a one week trial. Delivered to fans through OTT digital distribution, the network will be available on desktops and laptops via WWE.com. It will also be available through the WWE App on: Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices, Android devices, iOS devices, Roku streaming devices, Sony PlayStation 3 & 4 and Xbox 360. Availability on additional devices, including Xbox One and select Smart TVs, will follow suit.
“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 WWE Chairman & chief executive officer Vince McMahon. “WWE Network will provide transformative growth for our company and unprecedented value for our fans.”
WWE Network will also offer fans a revolutionary 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 programs 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 industry-leading 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 now, 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 MLBAM president & CEO Bob Bowman. “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 United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014 or early 2015.
WWE Network will officially launch with the live Monday Night Raw Post-Show on 24 February at 9:36 am, and fans will instantly have access to the most comprehensive WWE video-on-demand library upon signing up. 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.
At launch, WWE Network will include all 12 Live Pay-Per-View Events, including WrestleMania, and will be available to subscribers live, as well as on demand. It will also include Live pay-per-view 30 minute pre and post-shows.
Every Monday and Friday night, WWE Network will air 30 minute pre and post-shows for WWE’s weekly cable programs Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.
The Monday Night War: A series exploring the shocking real-life stories that fueled the mid ‘90s rivalry between WWE and WCW. Battling for ratings dominance, WWE’s Vince McMahon and WCW’s Ted Turner engaged in a masterful game of one-upmanship, and in the process, elevated WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Monday Nitro to all new levels of pop-culture relevance.
WrestleMania Rewind: A comprehensive look back at the most groundbreaking matches and dramatic moments in WrestleMania history, including never-before-seen footage and in-depth interviews.
WWE Countdown: A one-hour, groundbreaking, interactive, countdown series that puts the power squarely in viewers’ hands by giving the audience the chance to discuss and rank WWE’s most spectacular superstars, unexpected moments, best catch phrases and more through digital polling and social media interaction.
WWE Legends House: Starting in April, WWE’s greatest Legends will reunite for a new title. Only that this time they’re competing outside the ring. Imagine a beautiful house in the suburbs – perfectly furnished, with gorgeous landscaping, a lovely pool and quiet, respectable neighbours. WWE Superstars from the past including "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan will turn the neighborhood upside down as the house staff tries their best to keep these legends on time, on speaking terms, and out of trouble in this new reality show.
WWE NXT: WWE Superstars and Divas of tomorrow face off every week on WWE NXT, a one-hour weekly show that features the brightest and best of WWE’s rising stars. WWE NXT showcases the Superstars and Divas from WWE’s Performance Center as well as appearances from WWE Superstars and Legends in an intimate setting. WWE NXT broadcasts from the state-of-the-art Full Sail Live venue on the Full Sail University campus in Orlando, Florida.
WWE Superstars: An hour long weekly show highlighting the best of WWE Superstars and Divas in heart-pounding matches. Features highlights from all WWE programming, as well as a special glimpse at everything going on in the WWE Universe.
Video On Demand
WWE Network will offer all WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-views as well as classic matches uncut and uncensored, encores of Raw, SmackDown and WWE Main Event totalling more than 1,500 hours of video on demand at launch.
All episodes of original programming on WWE Network will be available on demand immediately after the premiere, allowing the viewers to watch on their schedule. Good times are certainly ahead for all WWE fans.