My Two Centsss - 999 Ways To Turn The WWE Network Into A Success!
By Super Chrisss
Aug 6, 2014 - 1:01:08 PM
Well, maybe '999' is a bit of an exaggerated number. Who the hell could come up with that many reasons? I just threw it out there because everywhere I go, no matter what I do, I can't get "nine-ninety-nine" off my brain. Damn you, Triple H. Damn you, Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler. Damn you, Vince McMahon.
BUT, here's the thing. Just because I have 'nine syndrome', that doesn't mean I want to spend $9.99 on the WWE Network. Especially since it's a false price tag for foreigners such as myself who are paying $9.99 + an additional $4.00-$5.00 for an UnBlocking service to gain access to the Network. As a Canadian, the announcement of Rogers being the exclusive carrier of the Network does NOT lower the price to $9.99 because *NEWS FLASH WWE* not every Canadian citizen gets Rogers in their province (state). Furthermore, Rogers are a bunch of greedy, scumbags so those who can sign up with them might not want to. Which means unless the WWE Network becomes available through other non-Rogers outlets in Canada, I'll continue paying $14.99 a month, not this so-called '$9.99' price tag.
Nevertheless, I didn't come here today to complain about WWE's false - and annoying - advertising. Okay, maybe a little. What I do want to talk about is how WWE is going about it all wrong when it comes to trying to sell the Network. Believe it or not, turning a three-hour edition of Monday Night Raw into an infomercial and shoving '$9.99' down our throats isn't the best marketing strategy. I mean, it probably got them a few new subscribers, but there are more effective ways for the WWE to hit that coveted 1,000,000 subscriber mark by 2015. Such as...
Offering more content, both old and original. Don't get me wrong; as a wrestling fan who just started watching the sport back in 2002, there are a LOT of Raws/SmackDowns/Pay-Per-Views that I missed out on. And that's strictly WWE. That doesn't include all the past ECW and WCW shows I missed out on. Personally, I'm more than happy paying
$9.99 $14.99 a month for a chance to watch those shows in good quality, get a monthly PPV, plus watch NXT and Main Event.
But I also understand why long-time fans such as LOP's very own Mr. Tito, The Doc, and others would want more content added to the Network. For 'old-schoolers', they've already seen the majority of the video archive. That's why WWE needs to create new shows. They don't have to be multi-million dollar projects like Tough Enough or Legend's House. Specials like WWE Countdown and Beyond The Ring are cheap to produce and fun to watch, so it's win-win. More shows like that, please.
Also, why not include WWE Studios' movies on there as well? Their old slogan was "Like Netflix, But Better!". Fine then; include some movies, even those that bombed in theaters. Unless Netflix is paying WWE big bucks to feature some of their documentaries, they should put WWE-produced DVDs on the Network as well. And for those who have seen everything WWE/WCW/ECW, why not throw on some WCCW or AWA stuff as well? That would certainly appeal to an older demographic.
Give people more content, and they'll sign up. Who would subscribe to Netflix if they only had 25% of their current library on demand?
Work out the glitches and make it easier to resume watching. This should have been a no-brainer since day one, but here we are over six months into the official launch of the WWE Network, and there are STILL bugs. Granted, not everyone experiences the same amount of technical difficulties as other viewers such as myself or The Doc does, but there shouldn't be any glitches, period. When you're paying money for a service, it's supposed to run smoothly, without question. I have never heard of any Netflix customers being hammered with bugs. The same should apply for the WWE Network.
Another thing WWE should have learned from Netflix is how viewers are able to pause their selection and resume exactly where they left off. Or, at the very least, show the images frame-by-frame when fast-forwarding through a show. There's nothing more annoying than watching a three-hour PPV, and having your viewing experience interrupted due to either a glitch or real-life calling you away (three hours is a lot to ask of people, by the way), and not being able to find your spot back. "Ummm, I got cut off right after the tag team title match. I guess it was around the 0:42:00 mark?" I have no doubt these kinds of frustrations have led to many subscribers opting not to renew their six-month subscription; and to be fair, you can't really blame them.
Make the Network available internationally sooner rather than later. When the Network first launched in the U.S., it was heavily rumoured that non-American citizens would only be able to [legally] get the Network by late-2014/early-2015 at the earliest. Well, the good news is, as of August 12 - next Tuesday - the WWE Network will finally be available to over 170 different countries, which you have to imagine is WWE getting desperate to hit that 1 million subscriber mark.
The bad news? Two of WWE's largest, non-U.S. fanbases are getting a Raw deal. As mentioned earlier, Canadians will need to be Rogers customers in order to get the channel (at least for the moment) which is beyond stupid, but I won't get into that again. As for the UK, they won't be getting it until October 1st. What the hell?? Way to piss off your fans, WWE. Wait over six months to launch the WWE Network to the rest of the world, and when you do, alienate a lot of passionate fans and make them wait even longer. I'm sure WWE have their reasons for doing so (bandwidth costs, sorting out glitches?) but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.
Above all else, put out a product that entices WWE fans to sign up for the Network, rather than begging them to do so. Just to be clear, this statement isn't directly ragging on WWE programming, as we have had a stellar year of PPVs and storylines, despite losing the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in recent months. We have seen a renewed focus in tag team wrestling, more emphasis on midcard titles, and there are not one, but two heavily hyped divas matches going into next Sunday's SummerSlam. Other than John Cena being WWE World Heavyweight Champion, it hasn't been a bad time to be a WWE fan the past year or so.
Unfortunately, there are still way too many things wrong with the current product, which could be costing the WWE potential subscribers. The announce team, for example, needs a shake-up ASAP. Their job is to sell you PPVs, stories being told in the ring, and more recently, the Network. I don't think the trio of Cole, Lawler, and Layfield have ever effectively done any of those three things. One of the reasons I enjoyed Raw live way more than those who watched it on TV back in July is because I didn't have to put up with hearing their voices.
Nor the constant replays. I totally understand WWE recapping what happened earlier in the show because there are plenty of people who tune into Raw as the show goes on. But showing the same clips over and over? Stop with that shit. I honestly don't know what clip has been played more in recent years - Brock Lesnar 'breaking' Triple H's arm on Raw two years ago or Brie Bella quitting and slapping Stephanie McMahon at Payback two months ago. It's really insulting that WWE thinks we're all idiots and feels the need to constantly remind us of what we just saw. Imagine watching any other TV show (24, Big Brother, Football, whatever) and the editors show recaps every fifteen minutes? Bullet, meet brain. It's a turn-off for viewers, it really is.
Also, I know WWE tries to cater to a younger audience at times, but some of the shit they show makes me embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. Who remembers that useless, never-ending Santino/Emma vs. Fandango/Summer Rae feud? Or having Hornswoggle and El Torito actually take up large chunks of time on WWE programming which did nothing but bury the wrestlers they were associated with (3MB and Los Matadores)? Or, more recently, giving us the same match - Diego vs. Fandango and R-Truth vs. Bo Dallas - three times in a week? Garbage like that could be used to build up important angles far more efficiently, or you know, give Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro more than three minutes to work with. With WWE, the good stuff can be really good, but the bad stuff can also be very bad.
What it all comes down to is the best way to sell the WWE Network is to give the fans a reason to want to spend money on it. No one, no matter what age, likes being told what to do. But if you give them a reason to want to spend $9.99 a month - be it for a compelling PPV card, NXT action, a Network exclusive, etc. - the fans will gladly pay for it. Make watching - and listening to - Raw feel like a chore, and the subscriber count won't go up, that's for sure.
The WWE Network has all the tools to be a success, as I still think it will hit at least two million subscribers come late 2015. But last Monday's edition of Raw is not the way to properly promote it. Give the fans a perfectly-operational, rich in content service and the Network will sell itself. Trust me.
Your Two Centsss: Are you satisfied with your WWE Network subscription? Or, what's stopping you from getting it?
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