WWE is expected to announce the details of their upcoming network this evening, live at CES in Last Vegas, beginning at 9:30pm EST. We will have coverage of the event as it occurs.
Below is the livestream, available on Youtube.
The set looks just like Raw.
Michael Cole opens up the press conference. He's labeled the "voice of WWE." Interesting. He puts over the fans and says what a better place to make an announcement than the Consumer Electronics Show. He introduces Vince McMahon.
Vince comes out and says he's been called a lot of things, but most important, he's been called a fan. He says today is a good day to be a WWE Fan. A video package kicks in and my video freezes. We are off to a great start.
I'm back, and there's some clips of Cena, CM Punk, social media, and random publicity. They are really putting over the TV ratings here. Not a coincidence. My video feed is pretty poor, but I'm blaming my cable company. Seriously.
They put over the viewership for the various shows, Raw, Smackdown, Total Divas. They talk about the WWE Studios movies, music, magazines, etc. Make a Wish highlights. At the end of the day, "it's all about making families smile."
Vince is back - he says today is a great day to be a WWE fan because (drumroll) they are announcing the launch of the WWE Network. He introduces Michelle Wilton, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. She says today is about the transformation and reimagination of delivering live content to fans around the world.
She confirms that WWE is going "over the top" with their network. They will have 24 hours of streaming live content, while offering on-demand content. She says WWE fans want content on any device, and are willing to pay for premium content. She gives some statistics. WWE Network is the first network to offer "the best of both worlds."
All twelve live WWE pay-per-view events will be offered at no additional charge.
Original shows, including Legends House, NXT, and more.
Pre and post shows for Raw and Smackdown.
The on demand library for WWE as well.
They're doing this for $9.99 per month. Comparingly, the cost of purchasing all the pay-per-views, including Wrestlemania, would be over $675.
Shut up and take my money.
They will be supporting various devices, including Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Roku, tablets, and Chromecast. They will be launching overseas as well.
Introducing Stephanie McMahon. My video feed took a nose dive again. It comes back in on a highlight reel for NXT. She says there will be programming other than in-ring action. She introduces Legend's House. It looks pretty entertaining. I'll watch it.
Steph talks about being the crowd for the first Wrestlemania. She says she had the pleasure of sitting in and listening to Andre the Giant talk about his Wrestlemania 1 match. She introduces a new show - Wrestlemania Rewind. Seems to be a show about the biggest matches at Wrestlemania, and people in the industry discussing it, including those in the matches. Clips of Hogan, The Rock, Daniel Bryan, Cena, Big Show, talking about the matches. Another interesting show.
Steph introduces Triple H and Shawn Michaels. They come running out in DX gear and start tossing light sticks to the audience. Shawn says back in the day he'd get nervous in front of so many suits and ties (except when someone is terminating him). It's zany Michaels at his best. He says he wants to take his clothes off, but Triple H talks him out of it.
They're kind of being buddy with each other but Steph interrupts and talks about the interactivity show, WWE Countdown. Trips says the hype is lame. They're gonna show her how it's down. HBK teases her and gets her to join in. Pretty funny. They do their DX introduction. This is definitely not a PG press conference. I'm enjoying it however. They skip the "Suck It" part and say "Watch It" instead.
Countdown appears to be a top 10 show, as voted on by the fans, I believe. Looks entertaining, if you like lists. Back to the stage, Triple H and HBK talk about their favorite catch phrases. Trips hits HBK with the "It doesn't matter" catch phrase. HBK says his is "You're fired!"
Steph talks about how Vince became the "evil boss" in the 90s. But behind the scenes, he was imbroiled in a war with WCW. Triple H reads the prompter wrong and this whole thing falls apart hilariously. It says "Monday Night Wars" instead of War. This banter is entertaining. Worth watching.
Highlights of the new show, starting out with Ted Turner talking about kicking McMahon's butt. Clips of WCW's finest moments. The Undertaker speaks out of character. Lots of clips of various wrestlers speaking. Looks good.
Stephanie introduces Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin walks out onto the stage. He gives a story before going into "Stone Cold" mode. He talks about how he never had a vision this would happen. Long story short, he's glad to be here. He talks about HBK and Triple H coming up to him back stage. He's thrilled to be there. He puts over WWE loving the fans. You get to relive the attitude era with this network. On the network, it's unedited, uncut, in all its glory.
That was far more PR from Austin then I've ever seen, and I listen to his podcast.
24/7 streaming service.
Live and on-demand programming, all in HD.
Access from any device supporting it, at any time.
Every single WWE pay-per-view event live.
$9.99/month (fine print - requires a six month commitment)
Reality shows, original series.
WWE, ECW, and WCW events.
Classic events, uncensored.
Executive Vice President of Digital Media Perkins Miller comes out to the stage. He's going to walk us through the experience of the app.
He walks us through ordering the service, starting with signing up at WWE.com. Create an account. Once you purchase it on one platform, you can watch it on all the others. The experience is similar on all devices. They claim 720p HD video on all devices.
Miller discusses the program guide, and how different it is from regular TV. If you miss the beginning of a show, you can press a button that lets you start from the beginning. Nifty.
Instant access to social media within the app.
He talks about NXT, which supposedly aired, say, yesterday. You can watch it. If there is a show upcoming that you want to watch, you can get a notification about it before it starts. There's also a second screen experience for the network. Great. I'll have the app loaded on two devices at once? Eh.
You can purchase tickets in real time with the network. There's also a robust video on demand library. Over 300 WWE, WCW, and ECW pay-per-views from the past. The entire home video library is available in the vault as well.
I don't believe for a moment that this guy is a WWE fan. Sorry.
They make fun of Michael Bay and he acts like the prompter failed. Triple H and HBK come back out. HBK "plays" on a tablet and launches a video of DX rolling in on a tank for Summerslam a few years back.
Perkins is still "frozen."
Triple H finishes up the teleprompter. More humor. All three throw up the DX X's and walk off stage.
Bob Bowman, president of MLB Advanced Media comes out to talk about creating the network. He talks about how the "over-the-top" model has changed over the years. This is the same company that streams Major League Baseball live throughout the year. Now I get the MLB. Ok.
Bowman puts over Vince McMahon and his visionary talent. He says McMahon has been fan-centric since day one. He believes the distribution network will be fantastic, etc.
John Cena comes out, suit and tie. He thanks the audience for making history tonight. He says he'll keep this brief. When can we start using this?
Monday, February 24th, 11:05 eastern, the network goes live. He says when the clock strikes zero, sports entertainment will be changed forever. The first pay-per-view event to air live on the network will be Wrestlemania 30.
Cena talks about sharing the passion. On February 24th, "we stand united." Cena walks offstage, with the clock still counting down.
Michael Cole comes back out to thank everyone for joining. Everyone from the media is invited for interviews, and everyone present in the audience is invited to a reception outside. Yay!
Well, this is definitely in line with reports we've been hearing, but the price point caught me off guard - I was expecting between $12-15/month. $9.99 per month is, honestly, a very good value. If for no other reason, you get 12 pay-per-views for the price of two.
I will have some more thoughts on this later this week. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the network?