June 1, 2020
WWE Network is dipping its toes into the ad-supported VOD market with the launch of a free version of its streaming network — dubbed “Free Version of WWE Network.” The platform, which will not feature advertising initially, is an extension of the $9.99 monthly SVOD service with 1.46 million subscribers.
The free version will feature catalog shows from “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown,” in addition to 15,000 other episodes.
“The launch of WWE Network’s Free Version is a key component of our company’s digitization strategy and a new way for all fans to be able to experience premium WWE content,” Jayar Donlan, EVP, Advanced Media, said in a statement. “As we continue to reimagine WWE Network’s offering, the Free Version will serve as an effective way to reach a broader group of consumers and allow them to experience the history and spectacle of WWE.”
Since launching WWE Network in 2014, the platform has seen subscriptions decline, leading management, including CEO Vince McMahon, to acknowledge in the most-recent fiscal call that the company was seeking strategic alternatives/partners for the service.
WWE has aggressively sought to offer new home entertainment content during the coronavirus pandemic since live stadium wrestling events have been put on hold. The free version will feature weekly highlights, talk-centric “Raw Talk,” “The Best of WWE,” and original series “Monday Night War,” “Ride Along” and “Table for 3.”