WWE Network Commercial Free No Longer, But Will Vince McMahon’s Ad Videos Scare Subscribers?

Patrick Frye - Author

Oct. 21 2014, Updated 9:14 a.m. ET

Soon we’ll see the WWE Network commercial free no longer, and already the WWE Universe is dreading the change. But Triple H, Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon are already trying to clamp down on concerns of the fans by saying the WWE Network ads will be limited in scope. But as the ratings continue to flounder, and the WWE Network subscription numbers suffer from apathy, is now the time to announce such a decision?

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In a related report by the Inquisitr, while everyone knows the WWE Network is suffering from not reaching the magical one million subscriber mark, it’s also been noted that the ratings for Monday Night RAW and Smackdown have dropped, as well. Despite the appearance of The Rock in Brooklyn, RAW reached a new 2014 ratings low of 2.63, which is a drop from the 2.68 posted two weeks prior to that taping. The biggest drop in popularity was in the 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 age demographics. The only demographic that didn’t slide was the teen males ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old.

There are many theories on why this is the case, but some observers believe the “problem is that talent is either underutilized or not booked properly, with repetitive matches and storylines being the order of the day.” Also, WWE “writers appear to be producing programming that they — not the fans — want to see.” Eric Bischoff agrees with this assessment, saying that the WWE needs “somebody smart” needs to be running the show.

Unfortunately, the WWE Universe is about to have a new reason to complain. WWE Network subscribers were recently sent an email that announced that WWE Network commercials were coming soon.

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Blockquote open

Today WWE Network will begin to run limited video advertisements.

Here’s what you can expect.

• No commercial breaks during scheduled programming

• Limited advertising between shows

• Occasional advertising before our video-on-demand content

- Blockquote close

Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie recently gave an interview with Yahoo Sports and she was asked what subscribers should expect from the video advertisements.

“The strategy is obviously a business decision to have limited advertising on the WWE Network,” McMahon said. “We want subscribers to know that there won’t be commercial breaks during scheduled programming, so your shows won’t be interrupted. It’s going to be very limited advertising in between the shows themselves. There will also be the occasional advertising before our video on demand content, but not before every video. We are going to be rolling out more video on demand content from our library and we are excited for that. New shows, new programming, we have the announcements rolling out.”

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While the WWE Network will no longer be commercial free, the biggest fear for fans is that the service will eventually resemble Hulu Plus, which is infamous for interrupting TV shows at the oddest moments. Stephanie and Vince McMahon may try to reassure subscribers this won’t happen, but now is not the time to spook subscribers, many of whom recently reached the end of the six month commitment period and need a good reason to keep their subscription.

In the worst case scenario, the WWE Network’s commercials may be expanded to be more intrusive in the longer term if the subscription numbers do not meet expectations. After all, the company cannot operate in the negative forever. Eventually, Vince McMahon and Triple H will need to find out more ways to squeeze money out of the WWE Network in order to become profitable. The question is, will the WWE Universe like their answer?


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