On Monday morning, the WWE Network went live to the world after years of planning, rumors, and spans of silence on its status. The original idea for the network was for it to actually be a television station which viewers could subscribe to, but after little interest was shown by network providers, plans were put into place to create a Netflix-esque online service which WWE fans could subscribe to and watch from any PC, laptop, or mobile device with an internet connection. The WWE Network features thousands of hours of WWE content including past WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-views. Subscribers also get to stream WWE’s monthly live pay-per-view offerings via the network, starting with this year’s Wrestlemania 30 event in March.
The WWE has partnered with MLB Advanced Media, the folks who run the MLB Network, to bring the WWE Network to life and run all the behind-the-scenes systems that are needed to make an extensive online network run. When the WWE Network went live this past Monday morning, the demand was so high that it put quite a strain on all the systems, and MLBAM was having trouble processing orders and keeping the WWE Network running smooth for viewers. The ordering issues have been addressed since then, but watching the content available on the network can be a bit hit or miss.
The live scheduled content on the WWE Network has been performing quite well with very few problems, but the on-demand video library has seen a lot of problems reported with errors and freezing, and trying to skip around on the timeline often causes a permanent freeze of the content viewers are attempting to watch. Xbox 360 users are reporting that they have been largely unable to log in during the first few days of the network.
WWE released a statement on Tuesday saying that they expected most of the problems to be resolved by that evening:
Working with MLBAM, we expect to have this issue fully resolved by 6 p.m. tonight. (2/2)
— WWE Network (@WWENetwork) February 25, 2014
So far it appears as that is not the case, with many streaming problems and Xbox 360 log in issues still persisting.
The good new is that the new WWE Network appears to very popular with viewers, and the strain on the systems are indicative of an extremely high demand for the service. The WWE’s video library consists of hundreds of thousands of hours of content that hasn’t even been added to the network yet, and future content including classic WWE RAW, WCW Nitro, and ECW television episodes are planned to be added in the future.
Time will tell if the WWE Network is a long-term success, and what the network means to the status of WWE pay-per-views on satellite and cable providers, but for now the WWE Network appears to be headed in the right direction and growing. It’ll be interesting to watch the WWE Network’s success going forward after the current batch of problems are addressed.