WWE: Vince McMahon Makes The WWE Network Free, But What Does That Mean?

Vince McMahon has officially made WWE Network free for a limited time during November as of this most recent WWE SmackDown, but already this announcement has current subscribers scratching their heads and wondering how this new deal might affect them.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the New York Post is claiming the WWE is getting ready to crumble based upon the poor WWE Network subscribers numbers. Since they could not reach the one million mark, the company posted a quarterly loss of $5.9 million, and some in Wall Street believe Vince McMahon may sell the WWE before the financial crunch really comes to a head.

When the initial six-month commitment period ended, many fans decided to quit the WWE Network in droves. The only saving grace was that the WWE Network had gone international, so even though the churn rate was not good, the company managed to keep an extra net gain of 31,000 subscribers even though hundreds of thousands gave up the streaming service.

Vince McMahon is currently taking a lesson from Hulu Plus, which previously tried to grow by giving free membership time to people who convince their friends to sign up. Thus, even if the current subscribers get a month free, the cost of having a month or two free would be quickly negated if it’s assumed everyone signing up still has to pay for the remaining four or five months. But McMahon is also taking a bigger risk by offering the “Simplified Price Plan,” which gets rid of the six month commitment requirement. The free stuff does not end there. Twitter users can potentially win free merchandise by tweeting with the hashtag #FreeFreeFree.

“We are excited to offer new WWE Network subscribers the month of November free to experience all of our live programming, explore thousands of hours of video-on-demand content, and watch Survivor Series, one of our most popular events,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “Our research combined with best practices in digital subscription businesses affirms our belief that a simple, single price plan will help us continue to grow WWE Network’s subscriber base.”

Besides making the WWE Network free in November, the offer from Vince McMahon even includes the Survivor Series PPV event as part of the deal, which makes it quite the bargain considering how much it normally costs for a single pay-per-view. The WWE Network free offer deal is also good for former subscribers who quit after SummerSlam.

The question is whether or not Vince McMahon is making a blunder in having the WWE Network free from any commitment. What prevents fans from simply holding out until Royal Rumble 2015 or WrestleMania 31 to sign up for two single months? It’s possible that making the WWE Network commitment free is a 2014 pricing gimmick that will disappear as soon as the major WWE PPV events in 2015 come around.

Jim Ross also points out that the real problem is not necessarily the $9.99 price point, but instead it’s the product itself.

“This matter of the WWE Network can be analyzed in a variety of ways but the bottom line is that the WWE core product isn’t ‘hot’ and when a brand isn’t hot it’s difficult to sell spin off products of the brand such as subscribing to their digital network. WWE Creative must do a better job of heating up the WWE TV shows, allow new, fresh, young talents to take on bigger roles and introduced new talents with a systematic plan to bring them in with fanfare and instant credibility. Plus selling the Network primarily because of the price of $9.99 which has essentially become a punch line in a joke and is not a selling point. It’s akin to saying that we have a lunch special for $4.99 but not saying what the special menu item is…. The old, promotes philosophy of giving the audience what they want and they will buy it still is applicable today in any business.”

Has Vince McMahon managed to convince you to sign up for the WWE Network? If not, what action would change your mind?