WWE to Launch 24/7 Streaming Net

STAMFORD, CONN. — The WWE is set to launch its first 24/7 streaming network in the U.S. on Monday, Feb. 24. The online network will feature original programming, reality shows, documentaries and “classic matches.” More than 1,500 hours of programming will be made available as video-on-demand, and the site will carry all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania.

Access will be $9.99 a month with a six-month commitment, for what the WWE says is a $600-per-year value in just PPV events alone. Subscription sign-up will commence 9 a.m. ET on Feb. 24 at WWE.com. A one-week free trial will be offered for a limited amount of time.

The World Wrestling Entertainment, founded 62 years ago by Toots Mondt and Jess McMahon, has been programming to various TV networks since the 1960s. There was talk in the late 1990s of creating a World Wrestling cable channel, about the time when the company went public. The programming had remained on host nets. USA carries “Monday Night Raw;” the CW carries “Smackdown” on Fridays.

The online WWE Network will be the first 24/7 conduit for the programming, and will work on PCs, laptops, Amazon’s Kindle Fire devices; Android devices such as Samsung Galaxy; iOS devices such as Apple iPad and iPhone; Roku streaming devices; Sony PS3 and PS4; and Xbox 360. Availability on additional devices, including Xbox One and select smart TVs, will follow this summer.

WWE Network also will have a second-screen experience for all original programming and live events via the WWE App, similar to the interactive fan experience currently available for “Raw” and “SmackDown.”

WWE collaborated with MLB Advanced Media to build a platform for delivering 24/7 WWE content. MLBAM will provide video streaming infrastructure, application development and operational support for cross-platform distribution. The wrestling franchise said MLBAM managed “live video content for more than 25,000 events, covering 80,000 hours of broadcast programming, across its sports and entertainment partners.”

WWE Network is scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.