WWE produced subscription network
|Launched||February 24, 2014 (2014-02-24)|
August 12, 2014 (2014-08-12)
January 13, 2015 (2015-01-13)
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Italy
March 24, 2015 (2015-03-24)
India and Middle East
November 2, 2015 (2015-11-02)
North Africa and West Africa
January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)
Japan, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
|Picture format||HDTV (1080p/720p16:9)|
|Broadcast area||Worldwide (with exceptions)|
|Headquarters||Stamford, Connecticut, United States|
|Astro (Malaysia)||Channel 821 (HD)|
Channel 841 (SD)
WWE Network is an over-the-topstreaming service and digital television network owned by American integrated media company WWE. In Japan it operates as a television network, and in the rest of the world as a streaming service using the infrastructure of Endeavor Streaming Services.
On January 8, 2014, WWE announced the network would launch on February 24 in the United States. The company stated on July 31 that the service was expected to go live in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, the Nordics, the Middle East and North Africa, worldwide among other countries starting on August 17. It was unexpectedly made available in the UK and Ireland a week earlier than planned, on January 13, 2015, after a delay from the previous November. The WWE Network consists of both a 24-hour linear streaming channel and on-demand programming from WWE's library.
Development and U.S. launch
The origins of the WWE Network can trace back to 2000 when USA Network filed the lawsuit against the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as the WWE) due to breach of contract which saw most of its programming moved to Viacom-owned TNN and MTV. The Delaware Chancery Court ruled in favor of the WWF in June 2000. Then CEO Linda McMahon revealed that WWF wanted its own cable network and testified that before WWF signed a rights deal with Viacom, the company had floated the idea of acquiring USA's Sci-Fi Channel, and reformatting it as a dedicated wrestling network. USA executives rejected the idea, and McMahon said that former USA Networks President Barry Baker encouraged her to talk to other programmers about potential deals. "I can tell you right now, Linda, you're not going to get anybody to give you a network," McMahon testified. In 2005, USA Network re-acquired the rights to all WWE programming.
In September 2011, WWE officially announced plans to launch the WWE Network in 2011 as a pay-TV channel. WWE then conducted a survey asking people if they would pay for the WWE Network if it were a premium channel. In an email sent to WWE fans who might be interested in the WWE Network, WWE surveyed fans for their thoughts about the WWE Network airing WWE's pay-per-views to subscribers for no additional charge. The survey also noted that feature repeats of Raw and SmackDown, as well as footage from World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), XFL, Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW), American Wrestling Association (AWA), and WWE movies would also make the lineup. Original programming was also noted in the survey.
As the result of an online poll, WrestleMania Rewind was chosen as a name for a new WWE Network show on October 17, 2011. The original launch date was set for April 1, 2012, which would have coincided with WrestleMania XXVIII, and WWE's official website featured a countdown clock that would have expired on April 1. The clock was quietly removed, and the network did not launch as advertised. WWE chief marketing officer Michelle Wilson allayed fears about the future of the WWE Network, saying "There will be a WWE network in some shape or form. We are in late-stage negotiations with distributors", and confirmed that WWE Legends' House had been filmed. In April 2013, WWE had switched plans and aimed to release the WWE Network as a premium pay-TV outlet, with a potential price of $15 a month.
On Old School Raw in January 2014, WWE ran teasers promoting an announcement on January 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, later confirming that the announcement concerned the WWE Network. At the Consumer Electronics Show, WWE revealed a comprehensive plan which would see a launch date of February 24, 2014 in the United States.WWE Classics on Demand closed on January 31, 2014 to make way for the WWE Network. A free trial period was offered during the week of the launch. The logo initially used for the WWE Network eventually became the standard logo used by the WWE corporation in August 2014.
In April 2014, ahead of WrestleMania XXX, the Network received acclaim, with The New York Times saying that WWE had "positioned themselves on the cutting edge of Internet television." Later that month, the company announced that the network had 667,000 subscribers, short of the one million subscribers they needed to break even. As WWE's stock fell 50% the following month, Forbes described low subscription numbers as being of "additional concern" for investors after WWE's underwhelming NBCUniversal renewal deal. WWE offered a second free preview week of the WWE Network, which started July 7, in an attempt to sign new subscribers. A second report released at the end of July indicated that the network had reached 700,000 subscribers. WWE's goal was to reach one million subscribers by the end of 2014.
On July 31, 2014, the company announced a 10-year, Canadian distribution deal for WWE content with Rogers Media which will see the company distribute WWE Network as a premium television service. Also on that date, it was announced that the WWE Network would launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain, and the Nordics, among others on August 12, with Italian, Arab, German, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian launches planned for a later date. On October 30, 2014, in an attempt to increase subscription numbers from an announced figure of 731,000, the 6-month subscription requirement was dropped, allowing subscribers the option to cancel at any time. WWE had originally planned to launch the network on October 1 in the United Kingdom, but was delayed for a further month. The launch was confirmed to be taking place at 8 p.m. on November 3; however, 20 minutes prior to the launch, WWE announced that it had been indefinitely delayed. Vince McMahon publicly apologized for the delay. It was announced on January 4, 2015, that the WWE Network would be launching in the UK and Ireland on January 19, 2015, priced at £9.99 and €12.99 respectively, although some customers managed to register as early as January 13.
On January 27, 2015, WWE announced that the WWE Network had reached 1 million subscribers, with Vince McMahon saying that WWE would "remain focused on delivering an outstanding value proposition for ours fans by adding new content and new features in the coming year." On February 12, 2015, 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.
On July 30, 2015, WWE revealed the amount of subscribers for the Network at 1.156 million. This was announced as a part of WWE's financial reporting on the second quarter of the year, which had resulted in their stock price rising past $20.00 after closing on the previous day at $16.48. The total of 1.156 million paid subscribers marked a 13% decrease from the 1.315 million paid subscribers that was stated in the reports for the first quarter of 2015. WWE also revealed, including trial subscribers, they had 1.227 million Network users at the end of the second quarter, and over the entire lifespan of the Network, there have been over 2 million unique subscribers.
The WWE Network launched in India on November 2, 2015. On November 19, a report by market research and consulting firm Park Associates announced that the WWE Network had broken into the top five streaming services and trailed only MLB.tv in the sports category. The WWE announced the network would launch in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Japan on January 5, 2016, followed by Thailand and the Philippines on February 29, 2016.
In April 2017, WWE announced a total of 1.949 million subscribers to the WWE Network, of which 1.661 million were paid subscribers. At the end of the third quarter of 2017, the number had dropped to 1.5 million paid users. In April 2018, WWE announced subscriber growth had reached 2.1 million, with 1.8 million paid. At the end of the third quarter of 2018 the number had dropped to 1.6 million paid users.
Switch to Endeavor, redesign
In January 2019, WWE Network signed with Endeavor Streaming to replace BAMTech as its operating partner. WWE's decision was motivated by the acquisition of BAMTech by Disney. Co-president George Barrios cited concerns over how BAMTech's relationships with third-party partners would be impacted by the sale, while WWE also sought greater control over the service and its operations, intending to partner with another vendor or take the service entirely in-house. The company decided to partner with Endeavor Streaming (formed primarily from the assets of NeuLion) to provide infrastructure and billing services, and Massive Interactive to develop a new front-end and mobile apps.
The new WWE Network platform launched in July 2019, ahead of SummerSlam. It includes a revamped user experience, support for 1080p streams, new browsing tools (such as a new "Superstars" interface for filtering content by performers), and plans to add a download feature for offline viewing in the future. Support for certain legacy devices, such as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and certain older smart TVs, was discontinued with the changeover. In an interview with The Verge, Barrios revealed that there were ongoing plans for WWE.com's existing video content to be integrated into the WWE Network platform as a "free" tier (possibly also including previews of WWE Network's premium content), and that WWE was also considering the development of a premium tier with additional features (such as benefits for other WWE operations).
Availability of the WWE Network globally
The WWE Network is currently available through 186 out of 193 United Nationsmember states (including all 27 European Union nations) and two observer states such as the Holy See and the State of Palestine. It is also distributed through six non-UN countries: the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Cook Islands, Kosovo, Niue, Northern Cyprus and SADR-claimed Western Sahara.
In late 2017, Liechtenstein and PRC-controlled Mainland China were added to the list of non-available countries, however the WWE Network is still available in the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau as well as ROC-controlled Taiwan and Fujian. In 2020 Malta was removed from countries available, no reason was provided.
On March 23, 2020, WWE announced a free access to WWE Network for a limited time that includes every past WrestleMania and other major pay-per-views such as SummerSlam, Royal Rumble and Survivor Series.
On June 1, 2020, WWE announced a free version of the WWE Network containing a limited library of content which includes new shows like Raw Talk, Talking Smack and original series including Monday Night War, Ride Along, Table for 3, Photo Shoot and Story Time. The free version also includes access to recent episodes of WWE's programs, Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and NXT, with the addition of historical WWE pay-per-views and NXT TakeOver events.
- The Edge and Christian Show – A comedy series and variety show starring Edge and Christian.
- Camp WWE – A short-form adult animation comedy series produced by Seth Green.
- WWE Story Time – An animated series featuring WWE wrestlers telling stories from the past, narrated by "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
- First Look – A first look at upcoming WWE Home Video releases.
- This Week in WWE – A weekly 30-minute recap of the past week's WWE programs, hosted by Scott Stanford and Alyse Zwick(using the stage name "Alyse Ashton").
- WWE Ride Along – A show following WWE personalities as they drive from city to city.
- WWE Raw Talk – A weekly post-show for WWE Raw, hosted by Charly Carusso.
- WWE Talking Smack - A weekly Saturday morning post-show for WWE SmackDown, hosted by Kayla Braxton and Xavier Woods.
- WWE Breaking News – Breaking news from WWE.
- Southpaw Regional Wrestling – A miniseries based on a southern wrestling promotion set in the year 1987. Also airs on YouTube.
- Table for 3 – Three WWE personalities share stories over dinner.
- WWE Original Specials – A series of specials on the WWE Network.
- WWE Beyond the Ring – Documentary portions of previously-released WWE DVDs featuring various performers, organizations, and storylines.
- WWE 24 – A documentary show that goes behind the scenes of WWE events and personnel.
- WWE 365 – A documentary series that reviews a year in the career of a WWE talent.
- WWE Music Power 10 – A top 10 WWE Music countdown show.
- WWE Photo Shoot – A show where current and former WWE personnel sit down to explain the stories behind photos of their careers and lives. Also airs on YouTube.
- WWE The Day Of – A documentary series that catch a glimpse of WWE Superstars' lives as they prepare mentally and physically for their biggest matches. Also airs on YouTube.
- WWE Chronicle – A documentary series that chronicles a WWE personality and their journey through personal interviews and candid moments. Also airs on YouTube.
- WWE Collections Spotlight – A preview show that offers a sampling of exclusive WWE Collections that are available on the WWE Network.
- WWE Marquee Matches – Prominent matches in WWE history are showcased.
- Superstar Picks – WWE wrestlers present their favorite matches in their entirety.
- WWE Untold – Wrestlers reveal stories about moments in WWE history.
- WWE Watch Along – Pat McAfee interviews guests while watching various pay-per-views.
- Steve Austin's Broken Skull Sessions – Stone Cold Steve Austin interviews WWE Superstars and legends.
- WWE Break It Down – The stories behind some of the biggest matches and moments in WWE history are discussed by the Superstars and legends who lived them.
- WWE Ruthless Aggression - The WWE Ruthless Aggression docuseries picks up where WWE Network's Monday Night War series left off, detailing the years that followed the Attitude Era, after WWE absorbed its top rival, WCW.
- Undertaker: The Last Ride - The unprecedented limited-series event chronicling over three years in the career of The Phenom
- Holy Foley! – A reality TV show starring Mick Foley and his family.
- Jerry Springer Too Hot for TV – Jerry Springer hosts this look back at some of WWE's most outrageous and embarrassing moments.
- Unfiltered with Renee Young – Interview show hosted by Renee Young. Topics discussed include WWE wrestlers' wrestling careers and stories, music, and movies.
- WWE Legends' House – A reality television series featuring several retired personnel.
- The Monday Night War: WWE vs. WCW – A television series about the Monday Night Wars.
- WWE Slam City – An animated series featuring current WWE talent, based on the Mattel toy line of the same name.
- The WWE List – A fast-paced, interactive series that tallies tweets from the WWE Universe to compile the most unusual lists ever in WWE history.
- WWE WrestleMania Rewind – The first show named to be part of the network; a retrospective look at WrestleMania's memorable moments.
- WWE Countdown – A top-10 countdown show based on interactive fan polls.
- WWE Rivalries – A show documenting rivalries in wrestling.
- Tough Talk – A post-show to Tough Enough hosted by Byron Saxton.
- Legends with JBL – An interview show hosted by John "Bradshaw" Layfield featuring WWE Legends and Hall of Famers.
- WWE Culture Shock – Corey Graves reveals a variety of unique venues, customs, music, food, and people as WWE's tour travels around the world.
- WWE Breaking Ground – A special look at the WWE Performance Center and what it takes to become a WWE wrestler.
- Stone Cold Podcast – Interview series hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
- Live! With Chris Jericho – Interview series hosted by Chris Jericho.
- Swerved – A hidden camera prank show featuring WWE performers.
- Cruiserweight Classic – A thirty-two man tournament showcasing the cruiserweight division.
- WWE Talking Smack – A post-show for SmackDown pay-per-views hosted by Renee Young and several guest hosts. The show was originally a weekly post-show for SmackDown Live and was hosted by Young and Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan or John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
- Bring It to the Table – Peter Rosenberg hosts while Corey Graves and John "Bradshaw" Layfield debate controversial topics.
- WWE Superstar Ink – Corey Graves asks WWE wrestlers about the meaning behind their tattoos. Also airs on YouTube.
- Straight to the Source – An interview show hosted by Corey Graves.
- Something Else to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard – Interview show hosted by Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson.
- Elias: Unplugged
- Then and Now
- My Son/Daughter is a WWE Superstar
- WWE Game Night
- WWE Where Are They Now
- WWE NXT – A one-hour, in-ring program showcasing the NXTdevelopmental brand, including periodic special live episodes. First-run editions of NXT moved to USA Network in an expanded live format in September 2019.
WWE Network previously offered "WWE Collections", which are video packages of memorable characters and storylines. In July 2019, WWE updated the network and subsequently removed all collections.
In addition to previous editions of the original programs listed above, the network includes many other previously aired events.
Although the United States parental guidelines rating system rates most weekly WWE television programs TV-PG, the WWE Network broadcasts a wider range of content. A parental controls block is available and content rated TV-14 and TV-MA are preceded by an advisory warning. The network airs footage featuring Chris Benoit; it marks the first major airing of Benoit footage or even mention of Benoit in said footage since his murder-suicide in 2007. However, the Benoit tribute episode of Raw is replaced with the episode that aired internationally, a recap of championship matches. Also, Vengeance: Night of Champions in 2007 removes all references to Benoit during the ECW Championship match. Over the Edge 1999, infamous for Owen Hart's death at the event, is also available for the first time since its original air date; however, some portions of the event have been edited out of respect to the Hart family. Matches called with Jesse Ventura on commentary, which had previously been dubbed over due to a 1991 lawsuit, are available with the original commentary.
While the network promoted on-demand airings as being unedited, some instances of expletives, gestures, and all nudity are censored. Many programs were digitized for WWE 24/7 prior to the 2012 settlement with the World Wide Fund for Nature, and thus the "WWF" and the "WWF scratch" logo are censored in some instances. Some original music has been dubbed over with alternate tracks such as the original intro music to Saturday Night's Main Event (May 1985 – January 1988 episodes) which originally played "Obsession" by Animotion.
At launch, all but one of New Jack's matches were removed from ECW pay-per-views, as was his surprise return at Heat Wave 1998, due to a combination of musical rights issues over his entrance music and the inability to remove the music without losing the original commentary audio. The deleted matches were eventually reinstated with replacement music and newly recorded Joey Styles commentary. Several pay-per-views are copies of their condensed home video releases, rather than the live versions, and so are missing matches.
Almost every WWF/WWE, JCP/WCW, and ECWpay-per-view (PPV) event ever produced is available for on-demand streaming. Although WWE promotes the selection as every pay-per-view ever made, a handful of PPV events have not yet been made available. This includes mostly foreign events such as WCW's Millennium Final, Collision in Korea, and the Japan Supershows, and ECW's foreign ECW/FMW Supershows, however it also includes some events held domestically such as WCW's Nitro Girls Swimsuit Calendar Special and When Worlds Collide, and WWF's No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie.[a]
In addition the pay-per-view section contains several events which did not air on pay-per-view, such as WWE events Royal Rumble 1988 and WWE Global Warning Tour: Melbourne. Many ECW Supercards are also listed as pay-per-views, despite never actually airing there.
WWF/WWE home video
The WWE released videos under the header "Home video classics" which include various previous home video releases that had been originally released under Coliseum Video.
Additional content from WWE Libraries, which has a library of over 100,000 hours of programming, will be added over time.
Independent wrestling content
Starting August 15, 2020, the WWE Network will add independent wrestling shows. That will select shows and "best of" compilations from indies around the world, including:
Impact on pay-per-view industry
In an interview with Time, Michelle D. Wilson, chief revenue and marketing officer for WWE, stated their reason for bypassing cable companies and instead only offering the WWE Network online: "Digital over-the-top offerings represent the future, and given that our passionate fans consume five times more online video content than non-WWE viewers and over-index for purchasing online subscriptions such as Netflix and Hulu, we believe the time is now for a WWE Network."
In response to the announcement, DirecTV issued a statement saying that they are re-evaluating whether to continue carrying WWE's pay-per-view events. Due to the fact that these events would also be available on the WWE Network once it launches, it might reduce the number of pay-per-view purchases via cable and satellite providers. Vince McMahon suggested that pay-TV operators would ultimately decide to continue to carry WWE's pay-per-view events, given that providers keep a significant share of each purchase, and incur minimal costs (apart from WWE's share of the fee for each purchase) to carry the events: "It's found money for them." DirecTV later quietly dropped carriage of WWE PPVs. In response, WWE said, "Yes, DIRECTV has decided to stop offering our PPV's residentially and commercially. The only other option would be to work through the local cable provider." 
On February 19, 2014, Dish Network announced that they would carry WWE pay-per-views on an event by event basis, beginning with Elimination Chamber. Dish Network later released a statement saying, "Dish will not offer the ‘WWE Elimination Chamber’ PPV on 2/23. WWE is not willing to adjust their PPV costs to satellite and cable companies, which is unfair to their customers. We need to re-focus our efforts to support partners that better serve Dish customers." Dish later made a decision to air WrestleMania XXX. Dish declined to offer WrestleMania 31 and 32 but did offer WrestleMania 33 in 2017.
In October 2014, it was reported Mattel, Kmart, and Pepsi would begin advertising on the network starting the week of October 13. Wilson stated that although no commercial breaks will occur during scheduled programming, 30 second adverts would run in between shows, and that one 15 or 30-second advert would be shown prior to every fourth stream of on-demand content.
- ^The steel cage match from No Holds Barred: The Match/The Movie is available on the home video Supertape, which is available on the WWE Network.
- ^"WWE Network Help – Watch WWE Worldwide". help.wwe.com.
- ^Spangler, Todd (14 January 2019). "Endeavor Video-Streaming Group Signs WWE, Which Ended Deal With Disney's BAMTech".
- ^"WWE Network".
- ^"Beaking News: WWE Network Launches Early in UK & Ireland". 13 January 2015.
- ^WWE Network Launches February 24 Retrieved January 25, 2014
- ^ abhttps://www.fiercevideo.com/cable/revenge-mcmahons-story-behind-wwe-network
- ^"WWF Wins Judicial Smackdown Against USA". E! Online. 29 June 2000.
- ^Goldman, Eric (September 6, 2011). "WWE Network coming in 2012". IGN. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
- ^Caldwell, James (September 22, 2011). "WWE News: WWE TV Network update – could PPVs move to the Network?, potential new shows". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- ^Caldwell, James (November 1, 2012). "McMahon announces Network model, but no timetable for launch; latest on Network plans & survey findings". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- ^ ab"'WrestleMania Rewind': The first WWE Network Show". WWE. October 17, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- ^Atkinson, Charlie (March 1, 2012). "WWE smackdown: Its cable network can't get off the mat". New York Post. Retrieved