About 667,287 subscribers have already given the WWE's new online network a thumbs-up—at $9.99 a month with a requisite six month buy-in—and projections are that the number will grow to a million by the end of the year.
The network includes content some fans already pay to watch, such as WWE "Wrestlemania" events on pay-per-view and a library of vintage WWE programs.
The online video approach is unique and being watched closely as a potential harbinger of how to deliver premium content without using a cable channel. The fact that it includes popular pay-per-view events such as Wrestlemania has ruffled some feathers in the pay-TV service provider space, where some operators have threatened to black out future events. None have, so far at least, a WWE spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
Meanwhile, the organization is potentially looking for a new home for its shows "Raw" and "Smackdown," both currently airing on USA and SyFy but with contracts that end with April. Apparently, the story said, the WWE is offering the shows to others including FX Networks and AMC—along with a hefty spike in rights fees.
- see this Los Angeles Times story
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