WWE’s game-changing announcement this week at CES in Las Vegas about the upcoming launch of the WWE Network, a 24/7 direct-to-the-consumer digital service has angered one of it’s biggest pay-TV partners, Direct TV. WWE is launching the Network on their own through the internet on multiple devices on February 24th with none of the company’s TV partners involved with the distribution, and the biggest hook for fans to subscribe to the $10-a-month service is the inclusion of 12 monthly pay per view events including Wrestlemania. This is not sitting well with Direct TV which is one of WWE’s biggest pay per view providers with their national satellite TV service.
"Clearly we need to quickly re-evaluate the economics and viability of their business with us, as it now appears the WWE feels they do not need their PPV distributors," said Direct TV in a statement yesterday to the Los Angeles Times. Direct TV continued to take a direct shots at WWE’s new digital initiative, adding the company’s PPV business “has been steadily declining, and this new low-cost competitive offering will only accelerate this trend."
Pay-TV partners of WWE like Direct TV have utilized WWE’s pay per views as part of their regular business for years, usually cutting the profits down the middle on the events which cost viewers between $55 to $70 a pop. With WWE essentially giving fans a very competitive option outside of the traditional PPV route to the get same monthly premium events and much more content, Direct TV is considering dropping WWE PPV events on their TV service. Currently though at this time, Direct TV’s website still lists WWE PPV content as available including this month’s Royal Rumble live on Sunday, January 26th.
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon gave a response to this situation in the same article, saying "I think it’d be foolish for them not to want to carry the pay-per-view anymore...It’s found money for them." WWE has officially stated through a spokesperson that they intend to stay in business with their pay-per-view partners to give fans options.
For a full report on what to expect and how fans can access the WWE Network, read our full coverage of Wednesday's announcement in Las Vegas.