If you were watching the 10 o’clock hour of Monday Night Raw you probably saw an advertisement for “WWE Classics on Demand.” It’s something relatively new the WWE has been featuring with some of the classic pay per views, Raw’s, etc. It’s updated monthly according to the commercial and only cost $10 a month.
I only mention this because as of late I’ve been reading rumors of a possible WWE network in the near future. Vince McMahon has been talking about creating a network for a while, but it seems he wants to do this by the end of the year, according to Variety. Apparently the type of programming will be very different then the in-ring wrestling we see every week on USA Network, MyNetwork TV and SyFy.
Last week the WWE released their financial information to shareholders and McMahon said this: "Many times, they are the gatekeepers of the future on whether they encourage kids to watch our program. We haven't appealed in terms of our product to our older audience as our younger audience."
Not that I’m the final authority in creating a network, but I do have one important piece of advice for McMahon: Do not rush this process. I only say that because in recent years we’ve seen two sports launch networks and one worked (MLB), while the other took a lot of time to get off the ground (NFL).
The MLB took their time in launching their network, and when it launched in January of 2009 it was considered by many the most successful to date. They took their time and were carried by many of the major cable carriers in the nation. On the other hand, the NFL Network moved very quickly and was not carried by many cable providers. Many NFL fans are still left in the dark and the anger has been increasing with more NFL games moving to the network.
It all comes down to money (shock, shock). But let’s also understand that the WWE is not going try to attract an audience as large as the MLB and NFL. A WWE network will be successful as long as it starts small and expands over time. I’m wondering to see exactly how many carriers will be interested in carrying the network. The WWE is not at one of its peaks and needs to tread lightly when trying to rush this process.
It will be fascinating to see what kind of content fills the air waves on this kind of a venture. The WWE owns a tremendous amount of wrestling libraries that many older fans would love to see again.
*As announced on Raw, Bret Hart will face the Miz in Bret’s in-ring return to Canada in a commercial-free Raw.
*Hot off her “Saturday Night Live” hosting gig, Betty White is rumored to host Raw in the near future. White is on fire right now and she can do just about anything on TV and make it fun. A Santino/White skit will be “golden.” Click here to check out my review on Pet Rock of Betty White's on SNL.