World Wrestling Entertainment rolled out a complete redesign of its WWE Network subscription video service last week. From a customer perspective, the new experience offers improved video quality, makes it easier to navigate through the enormous programming vault of the service and a much better search function is introduced.
But this refurbishment in the WWE network means an even greater change in the back-end: WWE ran away from Disney & # 39; s BAMTech division, the streaming technology company that became known by Major League Baseball to introduce the digital video age before extend to collaboration with other major customers, including HBO (BAMTech built HBO Now), Hulu, the NHL, Sony (PlayStation Vue) and WWE.
WWE Network, which combines 24/7 programming with WWE pay-per-views and a huge on-demand library, was unveiled at CES 2014 during a press conference with CEO and chairman Vince McMahon and many of the past and present top performers company, including John Cena, Steve Austin, Paul & # 39; Triple H & # 39; Levesque and Shawn Michaels. BAMTech calls the launch of WWE Network one of the company's crowning achievements.
But after he refused to extend his deal with BAMTech at the end of 2018, WWE is now collaborate with Endeavor Streaming. With BAMTech focused on ESPN + and Disney +, you might see other external partners looking for alternatives in the same way as WWE. For now, however, BAMTech still works with the NHL, Major League Soccer, Riot Games and others.
WWE's reasoning is that it wants to have more of the technology pile behind WWE Network, making it easier for the company to explore new features for the service. According to Variety, WWE also collaborated with a user interface design agency for this next iteration of the service. And yes, the new WWE network contains parallax effects and more visual flair during the entire experience.
A WWE spokesperson confirmed that last week's redesign meant the move to Endeavor and said the move will offer the company new flexibility, with the potential to improve different price levels (including a free option and a more premium VIP level) localization and multilingual support and more.
Even now, users have said that in some cases the video streams seem noticeably improved compared to what the network previously served. The new WWE network has been taken from the Stone Age and now runs on HTML5 instead of Flash. It streams where possible at 1080p, while everything previously came out at just 720p. On Android and iOS, the network still lives in the primary WWE app, but there is a standalone WWE Network app for TV & # 39; s and streaming devices.
The huge infrastructure shift has also, as expected, introduced early bugs and problems: a small selection of content has disappeared, some subscribers report problems with audio / video synchronization and WWE has thinned its list of supported devices and Blu-ray players left behind, older TV & # 39; s and even Amazon & # 39; s Fire tablets. If you are an avid WWE Network viewer, I recommend you this detailed overview of what is good and bad in these early days after the great renovation.
In general, the challenge of WWE Network is steady growth, with subscribers usually peaking up for the WrestleMania event tent and the rest of the year. Without contracts or obligations, subscribers are free to come and go as they please. The service amounted to an average of 1.688 million paid subscribers (including WrestleMania) in the second quarter, which was in line with WWE forecasts, but 6 percent down on the same quarter last year.
The company is also trying to counteract a decline in viewer numbers on TV as it prepares to deliver SmackDown Live to the Fox network later this year. Monday Night Raw remains on NBCUniversal & # 39; s USA Network; WWE has succeeded achieve amazingly lucrative deals with both partners despite a downward trend in aligning people every week. Last Monday, WWE broadcast what it called Raw Reunion, a gathering of the company's current top names and halters, including Hulk Hogan. The nostalgia game worked, attracts 3.093 million viewers. Rumor has it that WWE Dwayne & # 39; The Rock & # 39; Johnson is trying to recruit for a performance on Smackdown & # 39; s Fox debut on Friday, October 18.
Although it is undoubtedly the most important, WWE Network is far from WWE's only streaming bet. The company's WWE Studios division is working on multiple projects with Netflix, including a newly announced multicam comedy series starring "The Big Show" Paul Wight. It is also production of a Quibi series with the female superstars of WWE. The company is also growing under brands on YouTube, with more than 46 million subscribers and 30 billion views. WWE claims it is the second most viewed channel in the world.