In an odd twist, Vince McMahon is considering putting the WWE Network on cable TV, which would seemingly defy the very reason the company created the streaming service in the first place. It’s also claimed that George Barrios, WWE’s chief strategy and financial officer, says the company is keeping its options open, even including the possibility of scrapping the streaming version of WWE Network.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Vince McMahon may have punked CM Punk with a business move that will likely play a role in the royalties negotiations with Phil Brooks. Also, McMahon originally wanted to give Triple H the ring name “Reginald DuPont Helmsley” but Paul Levesque fought back, requesting that he at least be given a name that can be turned into catchy initials. Thus, HHH was born.
Back in May of 2014, it was rumored that some WWE officials were advising Vince McMahon to pull the plug on the WWE Network since they had not met their goal for subscription numbers.
“The mood is so bad… that some people within WWE were even openly speculating that Vince McMahon may have to pull the whole plug on the WWE Network soon, to stop the bleeding before it gets out of control.”
Fast forward almost half a year later and the situation still has not improved dramatically. The latest official WWE Network subscription numbers had the company reaching 700,000, but back in May they were hoping to reach 1.5 million by 2015. This goal is now down to only one million, which they hope will be enough to cover their costs after all the WWE layoffs and cost-cutting measures that have occurred. To put this goal in perspective, the one million mark was originally hoped to be reached by WrestleMania 30, and now WM 31 may seem a more reasonable time frame. But if the WWE Network cannot become self-sustaining within a year, it’s possible management will be forced to make some hard decisions.
The New York Post has revealed that Vince McMahon is testing the waters in a new 10-year deal with Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications. WWE fans in Canada will have the option to purchase a HBO-like premium cable channel that offers similar functionality to the WWE Network with a full WWE library. The cost is $11.99 in Canadian dollars, and analyst Robert Routh of National Allianc believes the WWE will receive a 60 percent cut of the profits.
“It’s a worthy experiment,” said analyst Laura Martin, who covers WWE for Needham & Co. “It’s also smart to approach different geographies differently to find out what really works.”
Despite having just launched the WWE Network internationally into 170 countries, George Barrios says Vince McMahon is open to other business models.
“We love the over-the-top model,” Barrios said. “It’s a great business model for us…. We have a phrase here: ‘Approach your job like it’s the first day on the job.’ We say that because it’s so easy to get locked in to things you create.”
Considering how much time and money has been put into the WWE Network streaming business model, you would think Vince would hate to see his dream end up in the scrap heap. According to the Post, Barrios seemed to be indicating they are keeping that door open, saying, “We like partnering. We listen, and we’ll see where the future takes us.” Still, the more likely scenario is that both the WWE Network streaming service and both cable TV premium channel distribution model will be offered concurrently, although it’s a question mark whether the latter service will ever be offered in the United States.
If the one million subscribers don’t sign up by WrestleMania 31, do you think Vince McMahon should pull the plug on the WWE Network streaming service?