World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) announced Wednesday that it will finally come out of the cable world to launch WWE Network. The company said at Consumer Electronics Show that its 24/7, subscription-only online video channel will be launched on February 24. The network will be offering new programs, matches, a six decade long library, and on-demand service for $9.99 per month. The package, which comes with a 6-month commitment, also offers all 12 pay-per-view events including WrestleMania.
WWE’s shift comes at a crucial time
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) CEO Vince McMahon said that the streaming service will be available on laptops and desktops via WWE.com. The WWE app will also be available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, according to the Associated Press. Other sports-based organizations such as NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB have already been offering round-the-clock online video service.
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) will be airing original content including the flagship “Raw” on Monday nights, documentaries, classic events and reality shows. The company said that it plans to maintain the $9.99 a month price even after the six-month commitment is over. WWE’s decision to go ahead with the online video service comes as more consumers are disconnecting their pay-TV service. The growth in pay-TV has almost stagnated after the emergence of video streaming services such as Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX).
WWE won’t cut ties with TV entirely
However, WWE won’t give up the traditional TV entirely. Its flagship shows “Smackdown” and “Raw” will remain on pay-TV. While “Smackdown” airs on SyFy, “RAW” is on the USA Network. Both channels are owned by NBCUniversal. Though the contract between them will expire soon, NBCUniversal benefits immensely from WWE programs. “Raw” averaged 4.2 million users per episode, according to Nielsen. It helped the USA Network move to the top spot among cable networks.
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) shares jumped 0.80% to $16.35 in pre-market trading Thursday.