I just read Matt Boone’s article on the WWE Network, and I have to say… Matt made some really good points.. If you haven’t read it, you should (click here).
His first point is basically that WrestleMania XXX was likely their best chance to get a lot of subscribers, but his second point is what really made me think.
Why would most of us stay over time? Other than getting to watch the pay-per-views in HD (which is a pretty good cost savings), there is not that much compelling content to keep you. It is not as though we woke up every morning longing to watch a pay-per-view from 20 years ago, and now we can. Even so, you can watch it this month and then cancel when your commitment is up. And.. Though we are not supposed to talk about it, there are places online that stream the pay-per-views. Yes… it is ethically questionable… But they do exist.
For those of us who are serious fans, being able to go back and rewatch parts of WM 30 (or whatever the latest and greatest thing happens to be) is a nice convenience. Being able to come in part way into the show or the next day and see it is cool. BUT, is that a big enough benefit to keep hundreds of thousands of subscribers?….. Of that, I have my doubts.
But, let me tell you what I do find interesting…. I read Jim Ross’ commentary on the first 29 years of WrestleMania for FoxSports.com (which incidentally you should take the time read as well) (Part 1 Part 2 Part 3). Aside from the history, Good Ol’ JR points us to specific “MUST SEE” matches that have taken place over the years. While I doubt he included them for that reason specifically, it gives me a scavenger hunt of sorts to go watch on the WWE Network. Suddenly, they are not a bunch of old videos anymore.. It is a gold mine, and JR just told me where to find the gold.
Those of us who have been watching wrestling for a long time know that most matches, even the good ones, are really only thrilling as they fit into the current story lines with the current superstars and their current fan base. However, there are some matches that are so good they are worth watching on their own. I am thinking of matches like Taker/Mankind in Hell In A Cell at King of the Ring 1998.
As I see it, interesting original series will help sell the WWE Network. If people understand the savings on the pay-per-views that will also help. A better search tool would be nice. However, WWE really needs to find some way to direct us to the great matches throughout history. Rather than expecting us to watch the hundreds of pay-per-views they have loaded to find the diamond in the rough, they need to take us on a guided tour through the last 30 years. If they do that in an interesting way that keeps us coming back for more, it may just be the one big value people are looking for in the WWE Network.
What do you think? Would a periodic blog of sorts pointing you to great matches throughout history and telling you what made them so special give you the value you would want to keep coming back for more? What do you think would seal the deal to get you to subscribe and keep you coming back over time? These are things the WWE needs to figure out soon if the Network is going to reach its potential.
As usual.. Thoughts and comments are welcome.