The WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network in September 2011, under a pay-tv format. The original launch date was set for April 1, 2012, the same date as WrestleMania XXVIII, and WWE’s official website featured a countdown clock that would have expired on April 1. The clock was later removed, and the network did not launch as advertised as the company was still negotiating with distributors.
The following April, WWE switched their plans and decided to release the WWE Network as a premium pay-TV outlet, which morphed into the streaming service fans have become accustomed to today. At a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, WWE revealed a plan to launch the network on February 24, 2014 in the United States. A free trial period was offered during the week of the launch and the logo initially used for the WWE Network eventually became the standard logo for the corporation as a whole in August 2014.
Though it has received critical acclaim as a service other streaming providers should emulate, the WWE announced that the network had 667,000 subscribers in April 2014, short of the one million subscribers they projected and needed to break even on their investment. WWE then offered a second free preview week of the WWE Network, which started July 7, in an attempt to sign new subscribers, but a July report revealed that it only climbed to 700,000 subscribers. WWE officials then set a goal of one million subscribers by the end of 2014.
In January 2015, the WWE announced that the WWE Network had reached that one million subscriber threshold. A month later, the WWE announced a five-year partnership with television provider OSN to bring the WWE Network to the Middle East and North Africa as a premium service in order to continue the expansion.
In July of 2015, the WWE Network reached 1.156 million subscribers, revealed during their second quarter conference call of that year, a 13 percent decline from the previous quarter. WWE also revealed that there had been over 2 million unique subscribers at that time. In November 2015, the WWE Network became available in India, and four months later, the WWE announced that it would soon launch in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Thailand and the Phillippines. Last April (right after WrestleMania) the WWE announced they had 1.824 million subscribers, 1.454 million of which were paying.
As of this past January, there were around 1.5 million paid subscribers to the WWE Network and WWE officials (including Vince McMahon) will again hold a conference call the day after this year’s WrestleMania to update that figure to shareholders. According to a new report, the company’s goal is to have 2 million subscribers by this Sunday to impress the stockholders.
“WWE sent an offer to people on their mailing list who have never subscribed to the WWE Network for three months of the WWE Network for only $9.99, then the regular $9.99 price after this period is over. This includes WrestleMania 33, NXT Takeover, Payback, Backlash, Extreme Rules and Money In The Bank. For inactive subscriptions of former members, WWE offered a deal where they can get three months for free, and then come back and pay 9.99 after this period was over.”
So if the WWE does reach the 2 million subscriber threshold, it won’t mean that all 2 million are paid subscribers, but the company is purposely inflating their numbers to meet goals, but not necessarily projections. As noted, they did not reach their projection of 1 million WWE Network subscribers back in 2014, so don’t expect them to admit that 2 million was a projection.
The WWE has ramped up their content on the network for WrestleMania week, which began on Monday. Below you can see their programming schedule leading all the way up to, and beyond WrestleMania on Sunday, as detailed by the WWE’s official website.
MONDAY, MARCH 27
Kurt Angle: Oh, It’s True…It’s True! – Watch now on demand
Raw – Live at 8/7 C on USA Network
WWE 24: WrestleMania Monday – Immediately following Raw on WWE Network
TUESDAY, MARCH 28
SmackDown LIVE – Live at 8/7 C on USA Network
205 Live – Live at 10/9 C on WWE Network
WWE Talking Smack – Live at 11/10 C on WWE Network
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29
NXT – 8/7 C on WWE Network
THURSDAY, MARCH 30
Bring it to the Table – 8/7 C on WWE Network
FRIDAY, MARCH 31
WWE Hall of Fame 2017 Red Carpet – Live at 7/6 C on WWE Network and more platforms
WWE Hall of Fame 2017 – Live at 8/7 C on WWE Network
SATURDAY, APRIL 1
NXT TakeOver: Orlando Pre-Show – Live at 7:30/6:30 C on WWE Network and more platforms
NXT TakeOver: Orlando – Live at 8/7 C on WWE Network
SUNDAY, APRIL 2
WrestleMania Kickoff – Live at 5/4 C on WWE Network and more platforms
WrestleMania 33 – Live at 7/6 C on WWE Network
MONDAY, APRIL 3
Raw – Live at 8/7 C on USA Network
Raw Talk – Live immediately following Raw on WWE Network
WWE Ride Along – Immediately following Raw Talk on WWE Network
[Featured Image by WWE]