— As noted earlier here on the website, WWE has released several t-shirts and hats with the WWE Network logo in conjunction with the service’s launch.
— The first WrestleMania Rewind looks at WrestleMania I, with the WWE Countdown episode looking at the Top Ten Greatest catchphrases. The NXT special, titled “This is NXT,” acts as a primer introducing viewers to the various competitors on the development brand and closing with a sit-down interview conducted Renee Young between Cesaro and Sami Zayn. It promotes the NXT Arrival show on Thursday. The content is similar to the NXT year-end special.
— Reports among WWE Network subscribers is that the iPad has had the best experience so far, with no major delays or buffering issues.
— The Network does not yet have the promised “every WWE Home Video ever,” nor all the ECW TV shows.
— Perkins Miller, WWE’s Executive Vice President, Digital Media, recently spoke about the WWE Network. Here are the highlights…
Going with a Digital Network: “When we looked at the media landscape, and this was a few years ago, we examined what our fans wanted to consume in terms of content. We have incredible reach with our PPVs every year and we have this rich archive of more than 100,000 hours of content, so we looked at what would be the best way to serve that to our fans. About a year ago, we saw 1) a meteoric rise for our mobile application that now has more than 10 and a half million downloads, 2) we saw the success of people in the OTT space like YouTube and Hulu and we discovered that not only were our fans engaged in our content, but they way over-indexed in terms of using technology, particularly over-the-top delivery technology. So we put that together and thought that this was a great recipe for our own over-the-top service and here we are today.”
WWE Content: “Obviously, the most critical content that our fans look forward to is WrestleMania and our PPVs, which goes without saying. We also recognize as a 24/7 linear network that we have to keep people engaged week in and week out so there are a series of original programs we’ve developed to watch. We’ve got WrestleMania Rewind, which shows so many iconic moments and is a big one for us. WWE Countdown blends our social reach with our programming as we ask our fans to rank anything from the top ten moments, catchphrases, moves, etc. We also have Legends’ House, which will debut right after WrestleMania and features the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who will come in a live in this house and go through crazy scenarios after, in some cases, 20 years apart. We will be marrying those traditional entertainment shows with in-ring action and news.”
Expectations: ” On expectations: We are looking at a lot of demand across our social platforms. The last time I looked, our network Facebook page had around 2 million likes on it. We’ve had a tremendous amount of demand in the media. In fact, at CES, in spite of all the announcements from Yahoo, Sony, etc., a study showed that WWE Network had the greatest impact by a factor of two, compared to any other announcement coming out of CES. So we feel that we’ve got a lot of excitement around our launch. If you look at the way our fans buy right now, we have anywhere from 800,000 to a million fans buy our PPVs on any given year, so our estimate right now is that by the end of this year, we could get to around a million subscribers. Our goal, over time, is that this model across the country could attract between two and four million subscribers.”