A report from PWInsider suggests that now that WWE has locked down TV deals for Raw and Smackdown, they are looking internally to make some significant changes to the WWE Network for 2019. The changes are being spearheaded by Vince McMahon himself, who is working with Kevin Dunn on ways to “tweak” the company’s strategy as it pertains to the Network.
First and foremost is the likely introduction of a tiered service, ranging in level from a free plan with limited content up to a top plan that would include commercial free content, fan perks for both online and offline activities as well as other features. The original plans back in 2016 for the four tiered levels were as follows:
Plan One – FREE, featuring five hours of archived material, five minute video clips, and a 24/7 live stream that would feature WWE content without PPVs, NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic. The idea would be that this would be a free service, featuring commercials, that would be available to watch on all devices. Think Hulu’s free content without a subscription.
Plan Two – Priced $4.99 a month would feature the WWE Network as it currently exists, with the exception of NXT and its Takeover specials, would feature limited commercials and access to only the “Big Four” WWE PPV events. The tier would also feature a VOD proponent that would add all new WWE “live events” (assuming this would mean Raw, Smackdown, etc.) 30 days after they air. This content would only be available for those watching via phones and tablets.
Plan Three – Priced at the still-current WWE Network price of $9.99 would offer the WWE Network as it currently exists, except WWE NXT would air live every week (similar to how Raw and Smackdown currently air). This would also have limited commercials.
Plan Four – Priced at $14.99, this version would feature a commercial free version of the WWE Network with all the current bells and whistles, a live version of NXT, a weekly Cruiserweight Classic series, and “access to independent wrestling content such as TNA & Ring of Honor” plus additional “Fan Perks” including early ticket ordering access, the right to vote in the WWE Hall of Famer, “offline” content download, small group online chats, exclusive second screen content and invites to exclusive in-person VIP meet-ups.
The company already has an extensive video library but are eager to acquire more content and recent discussions with Impact Wrestling have fueled speculation that they are also interested in airing content from that promotion. WWE already has access to the libraries of PROGRESS and Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) and are said to be interested in the libraries for Evolve and WWN.
WWE is also looking at adding new features, both content-wise and from an interactive perspective, including providing breaking news to subscribers before anyone else, offering merchandise, early ticket sale passwords, chances to meet superstars and other related perks. Other ideas include:
WWE Now LIVE! – A live morning show featuring the WWE-related topics and news. This is apparently an idea that is strongly being considered.
The History of FCW – A documentary style look at Florida Championship Wrestling, which preceded WWE NXT as a developmental territory for WWE talents.
Documentaries focusing specifically on stars, including The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and more.
Superstar / Superfan – WWE talents discuss their time as fans of the business and how it led them to WWE.
Xavier’s Arcade Challenge – Xavier Woods takes his love of retro gaming to the finest “Bar / Arcades” in the country and challenges the WWE Universe in one-on-one competition! Pilot material for this has been filmed by the company.
WWE Cheat Day with Becky Lynch – Following WWE stars as they eat on their cheat day.
Fashion Police / Unsolved Mysteries – Tyler Breeze and Fandango attempt to crack the case of numerous unsolved mysteries of WWE.
House Hardy: Halloween special – “Go inside the WONDERFUL world of the Hardy family in this delightful short form scripted sitcom, featuring Matt and Jeff Hardy!”