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Was the Network too much too soon?

Hey Scott, I've been reading your comments and those of others for a while, and one of the main points you and many others have made is that the WWE has the diehard fans locked in no matter what, and their current number of subscribers is probably that group (or near enough). So, hindsight and all that, but couldn't the WWE have launched the Network WITHOUT the PPV's (maybe make them available months later) and probably done roughly the same amount of business, without cannibalizing their PPV revenue? I mean, logically they'd probably have ended up with somewhere around 500K buys instead of 775K (or whatever the actual number is), but they'd still be drawing better PPV numbers, they could do all of the crazy marketing and experimentation they've been doing to try and make it profitable, and once it worked and was a desirable product, THEN they could say "Oh and by the way NOW we're going to start showing all the PPV's live on the Network!"

Counterpoint: if they decided to stop showing the PPV's live on the Network, save for the NXT ones obviously, how bad for them would that be, do you think?

​You know, I was fine with them ditching all the B-shows onto the Network, because who gives a shit about Battleground or TLC or whatever, but putting Wrestlemania on the Network was suicide.  They could have had the best of both worlds, with 700K subscribers for the April-Dec PPV cycle, and then 600K buys for Rumble and 1M buys for WM and basically doubled their revenue for the year.  Everyone would have still happily bought Rumble and Mania.  Fuck, I basically stopped watching wrestling from 2006-2011 and I still bought the Rumble every year!  ​

If they went back to PPV, it would go very, very badly for them and I think they know it.  InDemand is already on the verge of dropping them and if they abandoned the Network now, you can bet the cable companies would suddenly demand 70 or 75% of the revenues to let them continue airing their PPVs because without the dish networks WWE basically has zero leverage now.  WWE has deliberately scuttled their own PPV business and there's no going back now.  

Comments

  1. InDemand and the cable companies might bend a bit when it comes to Wrestlemania, since that's the only leverage the WWE has. I can definitely see the companies cracking down for a 75% cut for every PPV, yet WWE might be able to swing it back to 50-50 for Mania at least, danging that one as a carrot since 1M-PPV buy shows don't grow on trees.

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  2. If December's PPV was called Armageddon/Starrcade/battleground but still had a kickass main event and compelling other matches, it doesn't make a difference what it is called. Save TLC concept for a match that really needs it. Same with hell in a cell and other gimmick b-ppvs.


    People will buy wrestlemania/rumble/summerslam because of tradition and fans know that is when the best matches take place.

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  3. This is just it. They have a TINY bit of leverage for WM, but if they try to muscle too much into a deal, there is no reason for the cable/satellite companies to fold.

    I think they overreached in the sense that only, ONLY, WM30 should have been on the network. Offer the other 11 as part of the deal, but WM should always have been pay-to-play with a one-time free offer.

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  4. With people locked into the network for 6 months, I'm surprised they didn't bring back concepts like king of the ring. That would have worked well for the July Battleground PPV.

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  5. I think WWE legitimately thought that offering WrestleMania as the Network's initial selling point would automatically result in 1 million subscribers. It's obvious that they didn't think things through. I'm afraid all of the decisions that they're making now are similarly not well thought out at all. The removal of the 6-month commitment, for example, could result in lots of subscribers one month and then very few the next.

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  6. Wouldn't that make the Network basically the same as 24/7 or Classics whatever it was called that didn't succeed? I don't think an archive with a couple new hokey shows would keep nearly 500K subscribers for the long haul.

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  7. In hindsight, they should have waited until after wrestlemania to launch the network and the first ppv should be extreme rules with Bryan's first defense.

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  8. Virgil's Gimmick TableNovember 8, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    But that's change. CHANGE IS SCARY.

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  9. Not necessarily. They'd still have every PPV ever (presumably the newer ones on a delay), which the things you named never had. Classics never had a convenient way to watch on your TV, and 24/7 wasn't available to tons of people. Also, perhaps with new PPVs not airing on the Network, they might have felt more pressure to add more older shows (say, Nitros full run) which could have helped keep that core group.

    That said you probably do still lose a lot of people if you hadn't had PPVs on.

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  10. I wonder if they would have been better off launching before Elimination Chamber. I know quite a few people that didn't subscribe for WM because they were afraid it would crash. If they had seen it show a major PPV without issue, they might not have hesitated. Not saying it makes a big difference, but for some people I talked to it was "I don't want to risk missing WM if it might not work" followed by "Oh, it worked great, but I don't care about these other PPVs".

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  11. They're willing to change things up. I mean they just had a Cena/Orton match with Kane interfering at the last ppv and now big show and mark Henry are feuding.

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  12. Do you mean only WM 30 and no other PPVs, or only WM 30 and not future WMs? I'm not convinced WM 31 will even be on the Network unless they announced it and I missed it. Cole was playing word games as late as mid October where he said signing up for 6 months gets you every PPV up to the Rumble, which makes me question why they refused to say through WM 31 (which would have fallen in that 6 month range at the time).

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  13. "Remember how Kane used to have a mask then lost it? Let's give him the mask again and then he can lose it again! But this time , he's libertarian!"

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  14. I thought my wording made it clear, but ALL PPVs should be available except for WM, WM30 being the exception.

    And I'm sure that they're crunching the numbers to see what's gonna get the biggest profit, which explains the weasel words regarding WM31 on the network, but I can't see how it doesn't end with that show included as part of the subscription.

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  15. I seriously think they're missing out on not letting Glen Jacobs do libertarian rants every week with like a JBL character. Guaranteed heel heat, I should know as an anarcho-capitalist!

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  16. The answer still lies in the current product. It pretty much stinks. Vince and co keep putting up all these nostalgia shows talking about the good old days, which tells you that the current era stinks...

    What gets me is you see how they talk about Hogan's act getting stale on all these documentaries and it was, but history is repeating itself with Cena. The big difference is Hogan was rarely on free TV and only did 4 PPVs a year, Cena is on TV all the time and on 12 PPVs a year..

    On top of that, in Hogan's hey day, there wasnt so much competition in the TV game. Looks like Im blaming Cena, but its really on Vince for not learning from past mistakes...

    The only way they will add substantial amounts of subscribers is if fans want to see the PPVs, they wont as long as its the same old, same old....

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  17. Gotta say, as a wrestling fan, I love the Network. I understand our desire to remind the WWE at every turn that they're jerks and screwing up - but how are people complaining about the Network itself? Unless you literally can't get it - it's ridiculously awesome. I pay 10 bucks a month and replace all my blu-rays and DVDs and get fun documentaries and every PPV.

    The complaints I hear about it on the 'net are all so nitpicky that I scratch my head. Sure, from a business perspective, it's got some challenges. But as a product? I love it.

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  18. Classic had like 200k at it's highest.on demand, but it was never available to either dish systems, many cable systems, internationally, or to those without cable. It would probably be close to 500k.

    Personally I'd rather have Classic back.How hard/costly would it be to upload 2 show from various TV Shows every month? I canceled after 6 months, but would have been a subscriber for life to classics.

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  19. I agree with the wrestlemania thing, they should of gone to ni monthly ppvs traditionally and delayed putting them on the network like they do with raw and smackdown and then turned the other 6 ppvs into exclusive network only specials.

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  20. I cant really see why any subscriber wouldnt like it. I think this discussion is more about why it isnt succeeding....

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  21. Only real complaint I have is all the cost cutting going on to the current product as a result of the bad planning/unrealistic forecasts for the network.

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  22. I'm not sure what this has to do with the premise of the email.

    Not enough people care about what the Network offers. WWE has spent years and years making nothing feel special, which renders the biggest selling point nearly useless.

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  23. Here's the thing (and this goes for all remote server/cloud technology):

    It's all bullshit. It doesn't "replace" your DVDs and BluRays. We talk about how the network can't afford to disappear, but hey, companies have made disasterous decisions before. If the network ends tomorrow, then what? Did you sign a contract ensuring that the WWE has to afford you access to all their taped footage until the end of time?

    Nope.

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  24. Unless you save content from WWE Network, not that I would do such evil things...

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  25. So we all have our own ideas of what the Network should have done at launch to be more successful. But what do you think should happen now? For example, I don't think it'd be feasible now for the Network to dump Mania, Rumble, or any other pay-per-views because they would lose so many subscribers.


    I think they've pretty much hit a ceiling in the U.S. in terms of wrestling fans willing to buy the Network (save for possible 1-month subscriptions for the Rumble and Mania). So one option would be to try and expand beyond being a wrestling network. In another thread I suggested going with the 80s and 90s nostalgia angle and getting shows like Ninja Turtles, the A-Team, etc. that would appeal to their current base and expand it. BUT if WWE went in that direction, they'd have to go all-out. I'd be worried that they'd half-ass it, pay for crappy content, and not know how to market it.

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  26. I prefer unedited content, Thank you.Plus there are A LOT of commercial releases not on the network.

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  27. The idea of a streaming 'network' of WWE content isn't in itself a bad idea. What was a bad idea was completely going whole-hog into this new model before 90% of the kinks had been worked out. I mean...

    * ending the company's PPV business
    * how the Network would affect international TV contracts
    * how the Network would affect domestic TV contracts...the fact that WWE launched this thing in the same year that their USA deal was up is shocking to me.
    * how the wrestlers would get paid in lieu of the standard PPV bonuses
    * figuring out exactly how much content from the archives would be available at startup, and how much would be regularly uploaded as time went on
    * figuring out a strict payment plan so people couldn't just easily back out of that six-month commitment
    * how much, exactly, the Network would actually cost to operate and maintain as its own wing of the WWE corporation
    * how to consistently attract new subscribers past that initial rush

    These are MAJOR issues that needed to be settled long before the Network went online, not just a few warts that would eventually smooth themselves out. It's just business 101.

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  28. Not much they can do. A nostalgia angle isn't going to boost enough to offset the licensing fees.

    I think getting rid of the commitment is a good more. I know for a fact it scared some people off. You write off the start up costs and start making money next year. Assuming 500k is the hardcore number. You do 500k a month and 1m+ in January, April, and August. Then hope the product gets hot again.

    I think a traditional tiered pricing is needed. Something like this

    15.99 a month including the PPV
    9.99 a month for no PPV
    29.99 for 3 months with PPV
    24.99 for 3 months no PPV
    99.99 a year for PPV
    89.99 a year no PPV

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  29. Its pretty scary that people in charge didnt have a plan that took this all into account....

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  30. I think they were using it as leverage with NBC/Universal, and they rushed it out so Wrestlemania could sell it.

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  31. I agree that getting rid of the 6-month commitment could be a good move. It gives them an opportunity to court long-time subscribers, as well as impulse buyers each month.


    I don't really agree on tiered pricing. It's a lot easier for them to sell "9.99" than it is to explain different pricing levels. They (VERY briefly) experimented with a second pricing level and I guess it didn't do anything for them. I think the price will go up in the next year or so, but I think they should just have one price available.

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  32. What is shocking to me is that 4 million or so people watch raw in the US, but they can't get a million world wide to pay for the network.Homes with multiple viewers should be offset by those who don't watch in traditional ways.

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  33. I defiantly think they should charge more for the PPVs. They can still sell the single month price, but when someone goes to sign up they'll see that they can save x amount by signing up for longer.

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  34. I think we all agree launching after the announcement would have been smart for multiple reasons.

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  35. It wasn't surprising to me. When WWE had early hopes of 1M+ subscribers, myself and many others thought that was way too high.


    Take into account that ~75% of the US has 'broadband' and the average wrestling fan is older, poor, dumb, and probably confused as hell trying to figure out how the Network works, that 4M pool goes down quickly.


    I think the biggest problem easily is that the early 'break even' number of 1M subscribers was way too high. I think the Network has been a success otherwise. Wrestling fans love it, and I've seen numerous non-hardcore wrestling fans buying it.

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  36. I think that, as wrestling fans, we're all frustrated that the network ISN'T working, because it's been all of our wet dreams for so many years. Discussing is merely a way of coping with "what should they do to fix things".


    None of us wants it to vanish, but if it going away means WWE still being around in 5 years, then fuck the network.

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  37. Yeah, if you think about the exposure, it's even more insane.


    Hogan was on top for 9 years (give or take) from 84 to about 93 before fans turned for good. But he was on 4 PPVs a year, and maybe on TV for about 2 hours a week. So let's use that as a baseline of "9 years"


    Cena has been on top for about the same. But he's on 12 PPVs a year, and 5 hours a week. Which means he's been in the forefront for the equivalent of about 30 years during Hogan's reign.


    Yet they keep pushing him. And pushing him. And pushing him. And never changing HOW they push him.

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  38. I guess I just can't wrap my head around some of this business stuff because one thing isn't making sense to me:
    Can somebody explain why WWE couldn't just make WrestleMania 31 and SummerSlam 2015 pay-per-view-only events like they've done for decades before the Network's existence? Would PPV carriers refuse the potential revenue from WWE"s two biggest PPVs if WWE comes to them like, "Hey, we used WM30 and SummerSlam 2014 to help the WWE Network launch last year, but this year we're going back to normal."?

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  39. My thought was simpler than yours.


    If Oprah has had problems starting a network, why the holy hell did McMahon think he could?


    The ONLY way this will work is if they add some "can't miss" programming to the Network.

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  40. The break even included the loss of PPV revenue. The only way to make it lower was to not include the PPVs. In threre minds that was the selling point.

    Making 24/7 a streaming service and keeping the PPV model woukd have been the way to go, but that's hindsight.

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  41. You can't put toothpaste back in the tube. You probably wouldn't lose too many subscribers, but 9.99 is the value of a ppv now to many. Why pay 45 to 60? Plus as Scott said they would get screwed on the revenue splits.

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  42. I think they are working on some "cant miss" programming...

    Stay tuned for Good Ol' JRs BBQ show, After Dark with Chyna, Yo WWE Raps with RTruth, Little People Big Ho featuring Hornswoggle and Lita on a road trip....

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  43. They went the streaming route thinking it would be easier.

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  44. Id rather WWE goes away. I was always a WWF fan, this WWE shit is a pile of crap...

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  45. I remember when he joined the Authority and came out in a suit that first week, I thought they might have been going with a political twist for his character. They were not :(

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  46. But if Mania and SummerSlam only cost 9.99 this one year, but for the rest of everyone's wrestling-watching lives they've cost $40-50-60, it's not like it'd be some shock to the consumer's system. It's like WM and SS were on sale in 2014; but in 2015 they're back to normal price.
    And you'll have to explain the revenue-split thing to me. Why would WWE get screwed over it in 2015 when they weren't getting screwed in 2013?

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  47. And Hogan at least sold a beat down, which in turn sold tickets. Cena doesnt sell shit and the fans know he is always going over no matter what...

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  48. Because the cable companies would have the upper hand and ask for more revenue....

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  49. Correct me if I'm wrong, though, but hasn't WWE still been selling PPVs the old-fashioned way since the launch of the Network? Like if I didn't have the Network, couldn't I still get MITB or HIAC or whatever on PPV like I did every year before 2014?

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  50. It's basic negotiation, if you need me more than i need you, i can demand more. The wwe needs would need the cable companies more than they need wwe.

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  51. Im pretty sure the satellite companies dropped em and the cable companies would probably renegotiate a stronger split their way if WWE had no other outlets to distribute its PPVs....

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  52. No cable companies have already started dropping them. I think it was directv that dropped them after wrestlemania.

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  53. Ohhh, OK. Now it's starting to make more sense. WWE would have to negotiate new deals with the PPV carriers to get back with them, but it would be obvious that WWE was kind of desperate and therefore they wouldn't get as good of a deal as before.
    But still, it's not like the PPV carriers could completely rape WWE because those PPVs are still profitable for everyone involved, right? And for WWE, if they decide it makes more sense to go back to the old PPV model and keep the Network as-is without new PPVs, isn't some deal with the PPV carriers still better than no deal?

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  54. Those are some of the worst show ideas I've ever heard...


    ...when do they start? I need to re-up my subscription.

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  55. Seems to me like the satellite companies didnt care much about the profits when they dumped WWE PPVs after WM. I never understood why they did, pretty much cutting your nose to spite your face...

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  56. Preposterous crap like that would draw in more viewers than lame countdown shows and contrived crap like Legends House...

    Gimme a nightly Iron Sheik show where he discusses the trending topics of the day in uncut, unedited form and I guarantee subscription numbers jump...

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  57. Putting the Big Four PPVs on the Network off the bat (MITB taking the place of SVS in this case) didn't seem best for business. Good for me as a consumer, but maybe not the best move financially looking back on it. I think you still could've popped good buyrates for the shows people would pay for and just go Clash of the Champions type of events once a month, the B shows they have anyway, on the Network.

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  58. I think Legends House was the only thing they have that was on the right track. But how they could make a show with such ridiculous personalities so damn BORING is beyond me.

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  59. Outside of Mania, PPV revenues from WWE are drops in the bucket for what cable/satellite companies would see. If the WWE didn't want them any more, it's no skin off their back.

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  60. They just need more of the awesome wrestling-based original content they have or had. A regular weekly rotation of stuff like Warehouse, Are You Serious, JBL and Cole, supplement the live product with original stuff that isn't just "let's talk about 1997". Hell, bring back Confidential and every week, follow a Superstar around on their tours.

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  61. I was kind of looking forward to Legend's House but it was pretty boring. I think it was a decent idea, just wasnt carried out the right way...

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  62. WWE is trapped. They can't go back on the ppvs. The amount of ill will created would be astounding. As was noted by Scott, the satellite companies would bened them over without lube in order to take them back and fans would be pissed. I continue to use the Netflix example of how people lost their shit when Netflix even suggested a small price increase. In today's day and age of choices and content NOW, you better get your price point right out of the gate because people simply won't pay more. Call them selfish and spoiled, but it is reality. I can't see a two tiered pricing system working for any but the most hardcore fan, and only if 9.99 was the standard, with possibly a higher price for unlocking very specific content (maybe full DVD sets, including matches or someting but honestly the more I think about it, the more I dont even see that working). They are also screwed with the TV deal. They can't move Raw or SD to the network due to TV contracts and USA demands top stars and big matches so any chance of moving that type of content to the Network is limited at best to the occasional Rusev/Sheamus match. I would even venture that if they did that weekly you would hear rumblings from USA.


    The only options WWE has at this point is to get better. Find their new Austin or Hogan (if possible) and grow the business. Until that occurs (or if) cut costs so that 700k is the break even point. That means screwing wrestlers over by cutting their pay. That means finding other cost cutting measures. That may mean expanding ads on the network. They also might need to think outside the box and find ways to incorporate links to buying merchandise right within the content (not sure how the technical side of this would work, maybe only could do this on ppvs or live stream?). But ultimately they have established the price point, established what you get, and have no options but to get more subscribers or cut costs.

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  63. As a consumer, I *love* the archive, but I think they're missing the boat on good ideas for original programming that can make it even more awesome (like how Netflix really took off when they branched into original programming and instant-whole seasons), and considering the sub numbers, they're not offering SOMETHING that would boost said numbers.


    But overall, $9.99 a month for PPV and basically a gigantic vault of all the wrestling I'd want to see in HD quality is more than bang for my buck. But they're also leaving money on the table.

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  64. As far as the fans are concerned, I don't think they'd stay away in droves if WWE PPVs went back to the old system because for one year the PPVs were cheap.
    I guess I look at it like something being on sale. For as long as I've been aware, a pair of Air Jordans costs $100-200. So let's say one time they were only like $50. Awesome. But if the next year the price of Jordans went back up, I mean, I'd accept that it was just a temporary sale. And if I still want Jordans, I'd pay the $100-200 that I'd been paying all my life anyway. Things going on sale and then going back to the old price is something consumers deal with all the time.

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  65. The problem is I don't think they have any interest in getting better. As we've been talking about in the RAW threads in recent memory, they're more in a "keep the product stable" mode than "how can we grow this company back to what it was". They'll take those 2.8s all day and keep cutting corners financially to keep the profit margin and the stockholders happy.

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  66. I said it months ago, Ill say it again, they should look at what Prince did years ago. He included his new CD to all ticket buyers to his show and it counted towards album sales...

    Charge $9.99 more on each ticket to live events and each ticket buyer gets a voucher for WWE network. Even if they dont use the voucher, it still counts as a paid subscription for the month. I dont know how many tickets are sold each month to live events but Im sure they sell plenty. WM alone would generate around 70000 vouchers dispersed alone...

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  67. Ah, the ol "Red Sox and Phillies artifically keeping up the sellout streak" approach

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  68. Ha, it works though...

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  69. It does. Fudging the books worked for Frank Reynolds *takes a swig of Wolf Cola*

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  70. This is very true. I hate that MTV isnt the MTV I grew up with but I understand why they went with the crap they did...

    If WWE developed their own Orange is the New Black kind of stuff but real actors and no wrestlers, it might grab some subscribers. Or if there is some cult TV show that gets cancelled and they bring it back. They need to hook in viewers even if it isnt strictly wrestling fans....

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  71. Its not like the extra 10 bucks is going to deter a fan from going to a live event. If a family of four goes, they hooked them into 4 months of WWE Network. Maybe that family likes what they see and continues to subscribe....

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  72. Can't put toothpaste back in the tube? Spoken like someone who has never tried.

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  73. I have ot gets messy.

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  74. Related question: Considering how much WWE makes on ticket sales, its TV deal with USA/SyFy, Network subscriptions, merchandise sales and whatever other sources of income it has, would the company really be at risk of going out of business if the PPV money completely dried up?

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  75. It's not going anywhere. They can still trim costs. Half the roster can be gone tomorrow and wouldn't be missed. Worst case they start running the same buildings from 95 raws.

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  76. different models. Sure in retail (and on WWE shopzone) stuff goes on sale all the time. We are used to that. First off I will continue to suggest that streaming services are a whole different ballgame. Heck subscription services may be. I know with Blockbuster we had a ton of issues when we would raise prices or change anything. People flipped out at price increases for the movie or game pass and even flipped out when we changed the details of the Rewards program slightly (and the thing cost a whole $10 bucks a year too). People are weird. They have no issue with clothing stores and furniture stores and the like constantly having "sales." So many sales that the regular price becomes meaningless. Personally I hate it. When I need a pair of jeans or a shirt I just want to go in and buy it. No thrill of the hunt for me. I hate having to wait the next sale on a particular item or shopping around to whatever place has a sale. But people seem to enjoy that (hell, we found if you straightened a dump bin of movies, they didn't sell but if you messed them up to look like crap people loved to dig through thinking they were getting some grand bargain and we sold a ton more). At the same time people flip out about changing prices on other things. We understand as consumers that the "retail" price of jeans is not what we buy them for. Look at JC Penney. They tried to eliminate sales and they got killed. Why? Because retailers have convinced America that the value of an item is 40% of of the regular price. Forget that the "regular price" is usually jacked up, it is just the way we are. Heck liquidators come in to Kmart for example and jack up the prices of everything then put 50% on them and watch consumers swarm. WWE has told consumers the value of a ppv is 80% off the retail price. As consumers why would we go back to paying retail? Much like the shoe example you mention, a few will. But most won't. They will wait until the Jordan's go on sale again, and if they don't they move on and forget about Jordan's.

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  77. go out of business. Nope. Have fewer jobs for wrestlers resulting in even more overexposure? yep. Pay the wrestlers less and less? Yep. The best thing WWE has going for it in cutting costs is that anyone not named Jericho doesn't really have options for another career. I'm sure a couple guys would say screw it and find a new line of work, but for the most part they will just take less money because there are limited options to work. Back in 95 guys in WWE weren't even making road expenses some months and there were a ton more options back then to work than now (stronger market for americans in both Mexico and Japan, more Canadien options, ECW, WCW, Memphis, some other stuff).

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  78. you are absolutely right. As long as they can continue cutting costs to remain profitable, they will. Vince went from being a huge risk taker to being risk averse. You see that with how he kowtows to Mattel and USA on content. Being a public company kills WWE. Scott recently pimped a book by James Dixon about WWF in 1995. I checked it out on my Amazon Prime on the Kindle and one thing that was pounded home was the pressure Vince was under to be family friendly. It's only in late 95 when they hit rock bottom that he said "screw it" and upped the violence, brought back some blood (after two incidents that raised zero outrage from the fans, which I would assume would be similar today but Mattel sucks), and pushed edgier characters. We can only hope somthing similar happens, but as a public company circumstances are different.

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  79. Not any time soon. But they'd have to get rid of a LOT of wrestlers, which in theory could stop upward momentum, which could in theory...


    Basically, they'd last a good long time -- they wouldn't immediately go out of business or anything. The question is whether or not they could make anything worth watching. Plus, since they're a public company, they run the risk of losing TONS of money from a stock downturn.


    Maybe they'd need to fire the soap opera writers. I'm sure we'd all be super-sad if they did.

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  80. What's the best guess as to what percentage of WWE's revenue is/was from PPV? I would think their two biggest streams are tickets and TV. And 500,000 people paying $10 a month for the Network is still $5 million per month and $60 million per year, so there's that.

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  81. After the Alabama game, Nick Saban said, "we tried what we thought was a good strategy, but it didn't work". Sometimes, that's all it is. Vince tried something and it didn't work the way he envisioned. It happens sometimes. They still have time to salvage it.

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  82. TJ: Whoever was pimping Jericho's book before was on the money. This thing is hysterical!!

    --
    "...None of you had the balls to own up to this!”

    I put my hand in the air even though I wasn’t in school, as it still felt like the politest way to get Vince’s attention.

    “Um, Vince, I called you last Monday night to talk and you hung up on me.”

    His eyes burned a hole through me for cutting him off, but he acquiesced.

    “OK, nobody called me BUT Jericho."

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  83. I'm done the book now. Definitely a Jericho fan all over again reading that one. I think it's probably the best of the three.

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  84. Too much? They didn't do nearly enough!


    How much cooler would it be if it was a more interactive experience like the video games? Like creating custom match playlists that can be shared with others and voted on by others, or entering inline comments in shows that could be turned on to enjoy like an extra commentary track. Or even a freaking interactive call-in show like Byte This. There are so many things that they could have done with the technology to make the Network experience something fresh and interesting.


    Instead, it's just a one-way viewing of a library vastly inferior to competitors like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix...hell, even Crunchyroll.


    They should have offered something more than an online video library.

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  85. Their writers have a slim grasp of week-to-week logic, and a completely embarrassing sense of humour. I wouldn't watch any TV show they produce.

    Orange Is The New Black is amazing though.

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  86. That would be me constantly pimping the book. Absolutely his best. Funny as hell, insightful and he merged the Fozzy/Rockstar stuff a lot better too.

    Every Vince story in his book is amazing. My favorite might be Vince's text to Jericho when Jericho was considering a new finish "you already have a finish. Looking at the lights HAHA"

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  87. I'm on my way to a house show this afternoon. It's a sell out with tickets ranging from $35-$120, they're definitely making money today.

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  88. If WWE somehow brought back Terriers i'd buy everyone Network subs for Christmas.

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  89. That's an interesting thought. I hadn't even thought of the social aspects. It makes me think of something else. Why not a feature sort of like Pandora. I type in a wrestler's name and it makes me a play list of Randy Savage videos? or HITC, etc.

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  90. These are the types of ideas that would've helped. Everyone seems so preoccupied with nitpicking content that they've neglected to think of the interactive concepts that could've been introduced. It isn't too late but the Network has been written off by some fans and has become a running joke with the 9.99 nonsense.

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  91. I read a NEWZ item recently along of the lines of there not being much "wrestling knowledge" among the Network department. WWE's policy of not hiring anyone who is a "fan" may be really poor policy in this case. Having individuals with extensive product knowledge would be a very intelligent way to get ideas for the network.

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  92. For starters, it seems like the current system doesn't let you watch things on a match-by-match basis. You have to search through an entire show to find what you want.


    I would guess that that has something to do with the ratings...though it still wouldn't be too much of an ordeal to wade through a ratings box for each match.

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  93. I'm sort of divided on the whole thing. Yes it could be a lot more interactive and the 9.99 shill is a running gag at this point, but...

    10 bucks a month for that much content is a stupidly good deal/ROI. So I'm not gonna complain too much at this point.

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  94. You picked a weird time to stop watching wrestling. 2006 and the first half of 2007 had some really good stuff. What brought you back? CM Punk's promo?

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  95. He told it slightly different on the Batista podcast...."I called you Vince" "shut the fuck up"

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  96. Dave and Bryan had a pretty funny conversation about it on the radio show the other day, where Dave was nothing how much money they were making the past few years and how he had said many times that you'd have to actively try to lose money at that point. And now they're losing 10s of millions this year, and Bryan noted "Where there's a will, there's a way." Kind of mind-boggling when you think about it.

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  97. It depends on what platform you watch. On my Sony bluray player for example there is mark on the timeline indicating each match. None however on the Roku. Yet on the Roku you can stop a show, resume where you left off later. Yet you can't on the bluray player--always start from the beginning.

    Clearly technology has advanced farther and faster than WWE has kept abreast of. Having to ready the Network to operate as a website, an iOS & Android app, gaming device app, streaming box app, bluray player app, and smart TV app--not to mention having the content ready, the technology to deliver it, making it available globally...

    Look how much things have changed just since the Network's then-imminent launch back in 2012. WWE is in over their head with this, and will be playing catch-up for some time to come.

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  98. If they launch the network in 1999, they make a kajillion bajillion dollars.

    Lesson: Improve the product = profits.

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  99. The albatross around their neck now is the USA network deal. They have to deliver ratings above a certain level. If the ratings drop, they get less money at renewal time. Less money gets reflected in the product, ratings go down more... once they get locked into that downward spiral it's hard to pull out. At some point USA will decide they can get the same ratings for something cheaper, or spend a little more for something they can sell at a higher ad rate. Or you get the dreaded network "change in direction/demographic broadening" and the no-longer-hot wrestling show suddenly doesn't fit their vision.

    None of this can happen overnight, but changes need to be made now to keep it from happening 5-10 years down the road.

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  100. All of this comes as a direct result of their promising a "Network" for two years before finally realizing no cable companies cared about them anymore and they'd have to do it on their own.

    That's the only reason it's even called "The Network" anyway, because they screamed they were getting a channel for 24 months. They'd have a less difficult time branding if they'd called it WWEOnline or something more descriptive.

    Personally I think the content amount is ridiculous awesome, my only beef is with the small technical issues and the lack of any communication on their end. They would do well to establish an official developer forum or something on wwe.com where the people actually working on this can talk directly to the people actually paying for it.

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  101. That is a fucking brilliant idea.

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  102. 2007 also had Benoit. I didn't watch much then, either.

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  103. Def. imagine if they showed the aftermath of Austin stunning Vince or jerichos debut on the network? Ppl would've dropped money in a second. Bc the product was interesting and all.

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  104. In hindsight, yeah, WWE probably should have shuffled the PPV schedule so that every other show was on the Network, and keep the Rumble, WrestleMania, Money in the Bank, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and one other on PPV. They then wouldn't have needed the 6 month commitment. They would then have 6 aces up their sleeve to boost subscriptions over the next few years--especially if PPV continued to die off as it had been. Like right now instead of giving away the month & Survivor Series for free they could have been adding it to the Network.

    I also think WWE should have said no to USA to 3 hour RAWs in the new deal. I know everyone characterizes it as "USA demanded it" but I'm sure it's more accurate to say USA waved a shit-ton of money in their face and WWE said yes. Probably would have been hell to pay with investors turning down the extra money, but one wonders if the overall product wouldn't be in better shape with a more focused, streamlined 2 hour flagship show. Better product might have led to everything else being up, and they might have made up the difference there. Of course it's not like WWE expected the new TV deal, Network launch, top stars quitting or getting injured, and the overall business going cold to all happen at the same time.

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  105. Especially if it's a "smart" fan. Yet the first thing they have to do to anyone they hire is expose the business. The contempt the business has for its own fans (i.e. its own customer base) has always baffled me.

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  106. I'm not familiar with what the Red Sox and Phillies did. What happened?

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  107. I don't agree with a lot of these comments because if the wwe hadn't included wrestlemania and the other ppvs people want to see they wouldn't have even 1/3 of thr subs they have now. No way even 250k sign up for a wrestling archive and 6 bad b ppvs.

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  108. Of course the product would be better, but the investors are who Vince has to answer to, so he can't not say no to lucrative offers (even ones below his projections)

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  109. 2006? Yikes, even I stopped watching that year

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  110. Just like at the astounding job Joey Styles has done with the website. Put people who know their shot in charge, especially since they WANT those wrestling diehards watching the Network. It's not like Little Jimmy will be watching those old Clash of the Champions

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  111. To keep their fake sellout streaks going, the teams either have away the tickets to suits (who probably didn't go anyway) or bought the remaining tickets themselves, then called it a sellout because they had technically sold all their tickets

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  112. AMEN to the 3 hour RAW's. They now have 1,000 ratings reports showing people are clawing their eyeballs out by the 3rd hour. People just cant stomach 3 hours of anything not named "NFL", and MLB is suffering the same fate.

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  113. WWE should not have said no to USA for three hour RAWs. The TV deal was bad enough as it is, the last thing you want to do is piss off your network.

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  114. that's the same time I checked out permanently. I was already drifting starting in 2002 but the last stuff I really remember watching was DX and thes spirit squad and Jericho's retirement match with Cena. I think that was 2006.

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  115. Then blame USA. WWE doesn't want to do the three hour RAWs either, but they have no choice. I remember reading Vince said the perfect length for a wrestling show was 1.5 hours

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  116. Many people hate 1999 and talk about how bad it is.

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  117. The idea that Vince had a gun to his head in this, or ANY situation is laughable. Vince does what Vince wants.

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  118. in hindsight it did have some shit but it was the most watched year ever. And it wasnt' all bad. Rock/foley at the beginning of the year was great and the rock and Sock connection stuff was good. I actually think the fall of 99 through the end of the year was good too. It really was only WM through to the fall with the corporate ministry that sucked. But regardless at the time 99 seemed very fresh, full of excitement and great characters.

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  119. Yea, and he wants to make money

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  120. really? Mattel seems to think otherwise. Yes ultimately he has final say but he has stockholders and he listens to his business partners way too much now. Just read Jericho's book at how petrified he was that blood was actually seen on a WWE show. It was honestly pathetic.

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  121. I think "pissed" is overstating it. It's an hour of TV ratings.

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  122. It's an extra hour of ad revenue they would lose

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  123. The story about Rapid Fire Rory Fox had me laughing my ass off...

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  124. Good points. Fair enough.

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  125. The last people they'd probably fire would be the soap opera writers, which I feel will be the cause for their eventual death (if it does ever comes)... but they have too many wrestlers on the payroll at this point anyway. How many guys do they have that never appear on TV? I read the results every week and there's always at least one match where I think "holy shit, this guy has a job still? It's WWE Monday Night Thunder."

    Or maybe Thunday Night Raw.

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  126. Ok, so why isn't RAW on for 4 hours? Or 2 nights a week, 3 hours each? An hour each weeknight? At some point it's too much. My argument is a 2 hour RAW has the potential to be better, possibly meaning a better 2 hour rating than any 2 hours of the current 3 hour show. Yeah, USA doesn't care because 3 watered down hours are better for them. My point is it's not better for WWE and I don't think standing up to the network would have destroyed their relationship. They aren't gonna walk away from the table because WWE didn't want to deliver that 2.7 rated first hour. They're still gonna make ad revenue on whatever they air that hour. Probably not as much as RAW, but they also probably wouldn't spend nearly as much. I grant you we're talking hypotheticals, but there is also precedent in how much running 3 hour shows damaged WCW with Nitro. WWE itself noted on the Network how stupid it was for WCW to have expanded Nitro to 3 hours. This is just both sides being greedy, and they did it *knowing* it was going to put a strain on the product.

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  127. Because 8 to 11 is the primetime lineup and RAW takes care of that?


    A two hour RAW probably won't make that much of a ratings difference and would cost USA in ad revenue.


    WWE: We want two hours of RAW
    USA: No
    WWE: We insist.
    USA: Here's a lot less money or you can go elsewhere.
    WWE: ..oh


    Reducing Nitro back to two hours did not show a noticeable ratings bump and led to decrease in revenue.


    WWE had no choice in going three hours. They are often at the mercy of USA and its whims. USA is its boss and Vince is very protective of not pissing off sponsors

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  128. USA offered them more money to expand in 2013. WWE said yes. They agreed to continue it with the new deal. There's nothing "no choice" about that. As for USA's whims I've only ever heard of them complaining about stuff WWE has done, not actually dictating what they want WWE to do. They're not micro-analyzing the numbers and backseat booking. They just want good ratings and to not get complaints from sponsors or viewers.

    I seriously doubt USA would threaten to dump RAW entirely if WWE had insisted on not adding the 3rd hour. It's not like it would cost USA a gazillion dollars. We're talking about a few million in ad revenue spread out over a couple years. The lower ad revenue they'd earn would be partially offset by the lowered cost. If RAW had always been 3 hours I could see the argument but that's simply not the case. This is a mutual decision that benefits USA greater than it does WWE, and to suggest WWE would "piss off" the network by backing the alternative assumes a level of adversariality (is that a word?) that I don't think actually exists.

    As for Nitro, by the time they cut back to 2 hours the damage had already been done, and their problems were much greater than the show being too long. But being too long *did* add to a lot of those problems.

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  129. USA as a lot more influence on WWE than you'd think, particularly Bonnie Hammer. They are very big on authority figures.


    USA could offer WWE a lot less money if WWE didn't want to do what they want and that would be very very bad, since TV is a big part of their revenue. Last time WWE was forced to go on the open market, it didn't go well. Spike completely killed their leverage and that could happen here.


    You're thinking too simplistic. If USA wants three hours of RAW, we're getting three hours of RAW.

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  130. Jericho's retirement was '05

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  131. I think that's the simplistic view. I haven't heard anything behind the scenes reporting that the entire $200+ million deal hinged on RAW being 3 hours. It was simply part of the deal. If WWE only wanted to do 2 hours it would been a lesser deal. I think the reason they took it is because after overselling what they thought they were going to get to investors they had to take as big a deal as they could to save face. I also think we fans are probably seeing the 3 hour RAW as a bigger problem than WWE itself does. If someone out there can point me to an article, rumor, something that unequivocally says the USA deal was contingent on RAW being 3 hours than I'll concede the point. But I stand by the point that WWE would be better off with a 2 hour RAW. We all agree on that, right?

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  132. As I said below, classics on demand did almost that without satellite customers, Time Warner customers, international buyers, or people without cable. 250k would have been easy. I would bet real money it'd get to 500k

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  133. That sounds exactly like something Crank Vince would tweet.

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  134. although one could argue that it might have even resulted in both because of people subscribing to the Network but also ordering WrestleMania ("just in case!").

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  135. you forgot to mention that we also only hope the manage to catch the lightning in a bottle yet again.

    (because in hindsight, yes, the "Attitude Era" was a great decision. but I think it could have easily gone another way as well)

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  136. another thing that (in hindsight) might have worked: WrestleMania as a regular ppv BUT you get a discount if you have a Network subscription.

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  137. John Petrie has a point regarding WCW though. "scaling back to two hours" is not the same as it being a two hour show all along (with occasional three hour specials).

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  138. I remember reading an article about their negotiations with USA in 2000. One of the things the WWF wanted to do was either create a channel with USA or overhaul the Sci-Fi Channel (which also made sense seeing as how their ratings nosedived after they stupidly cancelled Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Sliders) and have said channel built around the USA and WWF libraries.

    A 24 hour channel filled with reruns of RAW, Prime Time Wrestling, Superstars, Weird Science, Sliders and Renegade would have been the greatest idea in the history of mankind, it's a shame the WWF let that deal fall through over a couple of lousy RAW preemptions.

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  139. That is a stupid policy, that would be like putting a banker who's never visited Hollywood let alone worked there in charge of HBO.

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  140. I'd just like to point out that most sporting events (football games, basketball games, baseball games) last three hours.

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  141. Same here. I loved Slobberknocker Central back in the day.


    WWE needs all the money it can get from that TV deal. There's no way they could take less and justify to their investors it was because the show was too long.


    And yes, RAW should be two hours. Thank God for FFing

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  142. Not only is Bonnie Hammer big on authority figures, she was the one who wanted John Cena to be the focal point of the show in 2005, and the removal of Jim Ross as lead commentator.

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  143. I need to finish it, I kind of slowed down a bit once I got to the firs tor second Fozzy chapter, plus I REALLY got into the Shining (ironic, since Jericho is a HUGE Stephen King fan).

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  144. True, but a close, competitive sporting event builds in excitement. A wrestling show has to be written to achieve that. If WWE were able to write an exciting 3 hours every week then there'd be less complaining.

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  145. To be fair, wasn't that also so they could always broadcast the game and avoid the nonsensical black out rules?

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  146. Now that's an interesting idea.

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  147. I wonder if they did any market research about that.


    Like. Did they have focus groups and say which PPVs would you pay for and still want the network. I would have been ok paying for the RR or WM.

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  148. I'd watch the Network more if After Dark with Chyna featured fairly regular pornography. Though of course that wouldn't make me BUY the network, as I can get pornography for free.

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  149. I would have been fine with that. Actually I'd be fine if they went back to that.

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  150. No, there's no rule like that in MLB. They just wanted to keep doing the "583 STRAIGHT SELLOUTS" BS

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  151. True, Spirit Squad was pitiful but while they had that shit, they were also doing a really great ECW storyline on the side. From Joey Styles 'shooting' to Foley and Edge as the co-hardcore champions. A lot of it was really fun. Plus, 2006 was the year that Ric Flair went hardcore and I ate that shit up. I loved his matches with Foley. Flair went all out.

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  152. I did enjoy the Foley/Edge stuff.

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  153. Pathetic? Cmon man, I think that's a bit of an overreaction.

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  154. no it isnt. Vince punished three guys (Jericho, the agent Dean Malenko, and the ref) who had no idea Batista was going to blade and made up some bullshit story about it costing the WWE millions of dollars. Sorry but being that scared of a little blood on one show and punishing guys who had nothing to do with it is the very definition of pathetic. And it is doubly pathetic for a guy who built his business on ignorning what others said and giving the critics a middle finger when they said not to go into other's territories, not to go national, not to do WM, not to try celebs, not to partner with NBC, etc. And later he gave that same middle finger in the atitude era whether it was being edgier, screwing Bret Hart, creating his Mr. McMahon character, doing his super bowl ad, telling the PTC to take a flying leap and even making fun of them, and a million other examples.


    Yes. Pathetic.

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  155. I did the exact same, bailing out at that time. I only came back into the fold regularly probably about 2011 (I think) with the Rock's return.

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  156. Okay, your essay in explanation is definitely an overreaction. =) Yike, sorry I asked...

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  157. yeah a whole paragraph sure is scary.

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  158. I never said it was scary. I said the level of emotional attachment you carried with this was an overreaction. I'd hate to see your reactions to things that are actually life-altering important if this is how you treat Vince's reaction to disallowing blood.

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  159. you called a paragraph an essay. That was my followup point. if you think there is emotional attachment, that's your right. I was asked why it was pathetic, I stated facts about punishing people not involved and a ridiculous exaggeration of the consequences with sponsors. I then quickly went down a laundry list of times when Vince went against the grain to illustrate how he doesn't do that anymore. Take that for what you will, but I didn't intend it to be particularly emotional, just a recitation of the facts and why a former rebel punishing people not even involved in some blood being seen on TV is in fact pathetic in my view.

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