So WWE has had the network out now for over a year and has surpassed 1 million subscribers. But the question on many people’s minds is this: Is the WWE Network worth it?
Suffice to say that in the UK the only way to access WWE content is via the Sky TV platform. Now we all know that Sky is ridiculously expensive and the majority of consumers just don’t have that kind of money to spare.
We all know as well that last year in November the UK launch of the WWE Network was pulled just minutes from going live for UK residents. The backlash this produced was warranted but it couldn’t have come at a worse time for WWE as they were just about to embark on their last UK tour before the New Year. Subsequently there were chants of “Where’s our network” from the fans when the Authority showed their faces.
With that aside WWE launched the network with a price of £9.99 a month with no commitment and cancel any time policy. With the launch of the UK Network Sky hiked up their PPV prices to reflect the fact that they were going to loose a lot of revenue to the Network. So PPV’s went up to £19.99 from £14.99 as the mentality shared within the markets is that PPV is on the decline with more and more providers offering their content over the internet as a streaming service instead.
So let’s take a look at the comparatives between Sky and the WWE Network.
So to clarify the table above shows the cost of being able to watch and consume WWE Content. The only down side to the WWE Network is you are unable to watch the Monday Night Raw and Thursday Night Smackdown episodes live. WWE Network only uploads episodes from a month ago on to the network so to watch RAW and Smackdown you would need to have the Sky platform or you could watch it on the internet for free as there are many providers out there who upload the content they record, a good provider to use is www.watchwrestling.me as they kick out the adverts and reduce the viewing time down to just over 2 hours. The only down side is the programs are recorded in 40 minute episodes which means you have to watch three individual episodes (on average) This isn’t a big issue in the grand scheme of things, but it would be beneficial for them to record the whole show and post the whole show minus advertising. All though you can’t watch RAW and Smackdown on the network you still get a massive bang for your buck. For the cost of £47 per month (or £557 per year) you get all 12 PPV’s live, massive amounts of content including Legends House, Total Divas and every PPV from WWE, ECW and WCW plus thousands of hours of other content including documentaries. With the Sky option you only get the Raw and Smackdown episodes and still have to pay for the PPV’s on top of your Sky Package. In essence taking it to a whopping £90 per month (or £1200 per year).
So to answer the question of is it worth it, to quote Daniel Bryan it’s an emphatic YES YES YES.
It’s predicted that this is the direction that WWE is going in, using online streaming as their main way of providing content to its fan base. Its now 2015 and today many more fans have access to the internet as many providers are offering their services cheaper. The above table reflects only the Sky platform and so I would advise any one to shop around to get the best deals for the longest period of time.
However, while WWE still has heavy reliance on broadcasters such as Sky to air its flagship shows for some fans it won’t be a viable option to subscribe to the Network. If WWE were to increase subscription charges so fans could view the flagship shows via the Network I for one would be in favour of such a decision. This would allow me to get rid of Sky in its entirety or reduce it down considerably to just the things I want or need. But I suspect it’s a long way off before WWE will be able to air its flagship shows via the network and could essentially loose them a lot of revenue at the same time. Currently WWE and Sky have a contract that runs until 2019. And so with that it’s unlikely that we will be seeing the flagship shows coming to the Network any time soon. Sky also airs other WWE content on its platform but this is also available on the Network for no extra cost.
I did look into Now TV as an alternative to Sky but it seems this is a service provided by Sky and so as you can appreciate will attract the Sky prices with it as well. To get Sky Sports on Now TV you have two options the first is a Day Pass which gives you 24 hour access to all 7 Sky Sports Channels for a 24 hour period. The other option is a 7 day pass which gives you full access for 7 days at a cost of £10.99 per week it would still be more expensive to use it this way than to use the Network streaming service option in the table above.
There are some great offers out there for your internet providers, in my area Plusnet are the cheapest option, and are offering 6 months Fibre at £3.99 a month and then £14.99 a month thereafter with a £15.95 line rental. So in all the first years’ costs for your internet are £311.27 compared to Sky which costs £436.80 per year. So as you can see it’s beneficial to search the market for the best deals and to see if you can get Fibre Optic broadband in your area as well. You can search the market by using the comparison sites where some allow you to select your current provider to tailor the best results for you.
The best part of having the Network as well is it works on a broad range of devices and select Smart TV’s as well. The most notable being the major games consoles such as the X-Box, PS3/4 etc and also some Blu-Ray DVD players. For a full list of compatible devices head over to www.wwe.com/devices for a full list of supported devices.
So there you have it, the WWE Network is certainly value for money, even if you just want it for the PPV’s you can sign up to the network pay a tenner and get the PPV’s and a full months worth of content even if you have no intention of using it every month.
The one thing the decision boils down to is this, are you a big enough fan of WWE to warrant getting the WWE Network? If you say no then it’s pointless in paying for something you are hardly going to use. But if its a Yes, then by all means its a must have for the die hard fan and you don’t need multiple subscriptions to the WWE Network, there is nothing extra to buy from the Network and so you can confidently give out the log in details to family which is what I have done with my younger brother who has being using it for the past three months without any problems at all.
So, the decision is really yours to make if the Network is really worthwhile for you or not. I hope this article has gone to some length to help make it clearer that it is cost effective and offers much more than the usual platforms on the market today.