Originally posted by the articleThe WWE's next move is to launch a cable network, which McMahon hopes to get off the ground within two years. While that objective is challenging in today's economic environment, WWE programming does well, and there is a vast library of content to fill the void between new shows (in addition to wrestling, WWE also operates a small movie studio, video games and a record label). Plus the success of McMahon's pay-per-view events has him feeling pretty confident.
"We have a lot of clout," he said.
The key with a cable network is always getting providers to add it, and hoping they put you on a good tier. I suppose that will depend on how much it will cost. If it's on basic cable, do you think we'll see Raw and ECW move there when the current contracts end? The Media Life Magazine link I posted says it won't, but why wouldn't you want your shows on your own network? Are they afraid of more audience erosion?
Originally posted by Mr. Boffo why wouldn't you want your shows on your own network? Are they afraid of more audience erosion?
I'm not a media expert but it seems to me you answered your own question earlier in your post. WWE would have to hope that cable and satellite providers place them in a good tier and then there are sponsors and advertisers to consider, plus the network would take years to build an audience and a market share, along with many other variables. The risk is great.
So why WOULD WWE want RAW, Smackdown and ECW on a fledgling network? Even if it's their own? RAW is on USA, the number one basic cable network. Smackdown is on MyNetwork, which isn't what it mapped out to be originally (a good cautionary tale in some respects for WWE's own network plans), but is still on a national scale. ECW is on Syfy and part of the NBC Universal family. All those shows are better off and overall availble to the widest possible audience where they are.
I'd love a WWE Network with old programming and maybe some older DVD releases. I've always been too much of a cheapskate to spring for WWE 24/7. But it would take years and years for such a network to establish itself. If the WWE Network tanked and all WWE programming is on it, that sinks the company in one fell swoop.
A WWE Network would satisfy as a niche cable channel and that's a reasonable, attainable goal for the time being.
I don't know what the current packages with these networks are, but I would think that the rights fees paid to WWE probably pale in comparison to what WWE could get if they kept all the ad dollars, even if they lost a chunk of ratings in the process.
They wouldn't move over night, but if they spent a couple of years getting clearance and then moved the shows at that point, it could be a boon to them.
Same rationale as why NFL network puts some games on its own network instead of the much more available ESPN.
The NFL Network airs some live games, but the league is content to have NBC, CBS, ESPN & FOX shell out big cash for the larger TV packages. Same concept with the WWE, I'm sure.
I think it's a smart move. Older wrestling matches have a much longer shelf life than older football / baseball games, and the WWE has no shortage of content. It could work well, but it'll all depend on the execution... and the start-up cost, which won't be small.
I, for one, think this is a great move AND have always thought this was what WWE should have invested their money in when they became a publicly traded company in 1999.
Instead they wasted all that extra money into forming the XFL in 2000.
This WAS the move to make 10 years ago AND is STILL the move to make.
Hopefully it will come to fruition in 2011, which is 10 years after the first XFL season. WWE should've been celebrating 10 years of WWE Network in 2011 instead of launching it.
All programming should be moved to WWE Network eventually(an "integration" as McMahon says). First SmackDown, then Superstars, then ECW, and finally RAW (in order of which program has the weakest network to the strongest).
"We have a lot of clout that most people don't," McMahon said. While WWE wants its own network, McMahon said he has no plans to take "Raw" off of USA or move any of his other properties.
"It won't be a threat, it'll be an integration," he said, adding, "it's good for `RAW' to be on USA." Of course, McMahon also knows it will also help him in negotiations with his partners. "Having your own network allows you a lot of leverage."
WWE should also look into launching their own PPV channel to maximize profits.
I just don't see 24/7 wrestling as being a sustainable format in the current environment. If the WWE is going to launch a channel, they need to find a more general angle, and that probably means partnering with someone else as WWE has never done well producing any programming other than wrestling.
Originally posted by Peter The HegemonI just don't see 24/7 wrestling as being a sustainable format in the current environment.
If it's anything like any other startup cable network, it will be more like 2 hours of new-ish programming, 4 hours of reruns, repeated three times, followed by 6 hours of infomercials. That shouldn't be too difficult.
I have a feeling MyNetworkTV will cease to exist by summer of 2010, which will pre-date the launch of WWE Network estimated to occur in 2011.
Hopefully, if that does happen, WWE can get a deal done quick with SyFy or Bravo (keep it in the NBC Universal family of networks). Perhaps even FX, as I have read that they have shown interest in wrestling recently. I guess, at worst, WGN may be willing to make a deal for SD! as well.
Problem with that is that WGN is not seen by many in the country.
Here's the estimated availability for 2009 Year End for some other cable networks: USA 101.2 million Spike 100.8 FX 98.2 SyFY 98.0 Bravo 93.0
WGN currently sits at 71 million (not sure what the year end estimate is, but won't be anywhere close to these other networks).
As far as WWE Network being sustainable:
I would hope WWE would pay for the right to air other programs (other than wrestling 24/7) to fill in the time during the day such as action shows like A-Team or even Thunder In Paradise (which is great for unintentional comedy). I too hope that WWE would partner with someone else if they decided to produce non-wrestling original programming.
Also, they may finally go ahead with that long-rumored late night talk show that they were considering around 10 years ago. They could utilize some WWE Legends for this as well such as Jesse Ventura, Roddy Piper, etc.
There's also the possibility of reality shows following certain Superstars and Divas which would also help to get someone over or more over on their wrestling programs.
And they should shill, shill, shill their merchandise non-stop (maybe even steal Don West from TNA to do some shilling). Perhaps run WWEShop.com programming in the middle of the night QVC-style.
There's endless opportunities that can be had, but it all comes down to what type of clearance the network can get and we've seen the fight that NFL Network has gone through and it hasn't been pretty for them.
WWE will have to make threats to the cable and satellite companies that they will start their own PPV company (which they should look into doing NOW, so they at least can present an actual plan if this is used as a threat). If cable and satellite companies don't balk, WWE may get clearance on the basic cable package and get the amount of money they want from the cable and satellite companies when it comes to the licensing fees. Then it's up to WWE to get the advertising money.
Originally posted by mightyvanwhalen I would hope WWE would pay for the right to air other programs (other than wrestling 24/7) to fill in the time during the day such as action shows like A-Team or even Thunder In Paradise (which is great for unintentional comedy).
Throw in Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Roll Wrestling and the episodes of GI Joe featuring Sgt. Slaughter and I'm already in.
I think this thread title misses it's mark. Probably should go more with something along the lines of "Vince McMahon makes off hand comment about new cable network as a small part of an article designed to puff up company's image; may or may not be full of crap". Though that seems wordy.
If he says it in investor's phone conference, it's probably a lot more meaningful.
Originally posted by mightyvanwhalenThey'll have to blank out the "F" on every mention of "WWF" though due to those hacks in England.
"...due to Vince McMahon signing contracts with no intention of actually following the provisions of said contracts," you mean.
You're right in saying that McMahon broke the provisions of the signed contracts with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFfN), BUT the courts still should have been wise enough to realize that said contracts had no business being drawn up nor signed to begin with.
You can't own letters and especially letters that WWFfN doesn't even use anymore due to changing their name from WWF to WWFfN. The ruling causes a very slippery slope.
The same thing with Spike Lee suing Spike TV. Ridiculuos! Michael J. Fox should sue FOX network, Northwest Airlines should sue both NWA the wrestling organization and NWA the rap group, M & M candies should sue M & M handbags, Associated Builders and Contractors should sue ABC network, the U.S. Government should sue USA network, etc.
I still think, since WWE lost, that WWE should reach out to WWFfN and offer to put a link to the WWFfN website on WWE.com for as long as WWE exists in exchange for being able to show the "scratch logo" in and on videos/in pictures/in and on CD's, the letters "WWF" in and on videos/in pictures/in and on CD's, and say the letters "WWF" in old videos,CD's,etc.
Originally posted by mightyvanwhalenI still think, since WWE lost, that WWE should reach out to WWFfN and offer to put a link to the WWFfN website on WWE.com for as long as WWE exists in exchange for being able to show the "scratch logo" in and on videos/in pictures/in and on CD's, the letters "WWF" in and on videos/in pictures/in and on CD's, and say the letters "WWF" in old videos,CD's,etc.
Well, in addition, SmackDown! has been going practically week in and week out every week out of the year. Still, that makes about 4 years on the air, which is more than most other series do on any network.