WWE Network Adding Download, Free Viewing Options

WWE Network, the $9.95 monthly professional wrestling subscription streaming video service/app with 1.58 million subs, is reportedly rebooting the platform.

WWE’s YouTube channel touts more than 50 million free “subscribers.”

The entertainment service will soon offer WWE Network users a free option, in addition to two paid tiers, WWE co-president George Barrios told The Verge.

Barrios said the changes come as WWE’s relationship with Disney-owned BAMTech changed. The backend software provider, which also supported HBO Now, among other third-party streaming services, is now focused on the pending Disney+ service.

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As a result, WWE has partnered with Endeavor Streaming and Massive Interactive for backend support.

“We made the decision to move off, but [Disney was] incredibly professional,” Barrios said. “[Disney Streaming Services president] Michael Paull and his team, I couldn’t speak higher of.”

The rebooted WWE Network will offer free videos exclusive to the WWE Network app. The basic subscription will feature free content, in addition to live pay-per-view events, on-demand and original content.

The yet un-priced premium option will offer additional content, in addition to free shipping on all merchandise shipments, among other features.

Barrios said the platform is finalizing a download option enabling users to stream content without access to Wi-Fi. The executive said all content would be streamed in 720p resolution, with forays into 4K resolution not panning out.

“4K, I think that will be driven more by the penetration of 4K devices and then 4K consumption,” Barrios said. “We’ve experimented with it, but I wouldn’t expect a significant amount of video content in 4K this year certainly.”

Neulion Rebranded to Endeavor Streaming, Snatches WWE from Disney’s BamTech Media

Backend tech support for streaming video is becoming big business.

Endeavor Talent Agency, whose subsidiaries include William Morris Endeavor, IMG, and Ultimate Fighting Championship, announced the formation of Endeavor Streaming, encompassing the company’s video streaming products and services.

The over-the-top video venture is driven by Neulion, which Endeavor acquired in 2018 for $250 million.

NeuLion, which provides backend support for live-sports streaming, is being absorbed within the new group alongside Endeavor’s internally developed video platform technology, and now operates under the Endeavor Streaming moniker.

Endeavor Streaming provides backend tech support for the NFL, NBA, UFC, and Euroleague. Notably, the platform just signed professional wrestling brand WWE away from Disney’s BamTech Media.

BamTech, which Disney acquired for about $3 billion, provides streaming tech support for ESPN+, HBO Now, PlayStation Vue, The Blaze and WatchESPN, among other services. It will also power Disney’s upcoming branded SVOD service.

With more than 1.6 million subscribers, WWE Network is one of the largest sports-entertainment OTT platforms in the world. Endeavor also supports U.K.-based BT and its new service, BT Sport Box Office; and OSN, the Middle East and North Africa’s entertainment network.

Endeavor Streaming will be co-led by chief technology officer Nick Wilson and president of business operations Will Staeger. Staeger previously served as SVP within IMG’s original content division following time at ESPN, WWE, and Dick Clark Productions.

“We’ve integrated Endeavor’s scalable platform with NeuLion’s industry leading technology and feature set to provide clients with the best tools and services in video streaming, removing technology as a barrier in reaching their consumers,” Wilson and Staeger said in a co-statement.

Endeavor Streaming will continue servicing major media providers, including Univision, Sportsnet, Sky Sports, MSG, National Geographic, and Big Ten Network. The group will also continue supporting Endeavor properties like PBR (Ride Pass) and UFC (UFC.tv and Fight Pass).

The platform recently streamed “UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor,” and received the “OTT TV Service of the Year” award at the Content Innovation Awards ahead of MIPCOM for its work on the NBA League Pass International product.

Meanwhile, the group has launched several new consumer products, including “Serie A Pass” and “Strive,” the latter of which features action from both Serie A and La Liga, Italy and Spain’s professional soccer leagues, respectively.