Cable Operators

WWE Network to Finally Hit the Ring

9/12/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

After years of speculation, the WWE
said it will take its
popular sports-entertainment
product
beyond the pay-perview,
on-demand and
weekly series arena to
a full-fl edged, 24-hour
cable channel.

WWE executives
were mum on details
regarding the
WWE Network beyond
the company’s
60-second ad touting
the network’s
2012 launch during
its Sept. 5 weekly live Monday Night Raw show. Later, a posting on
its WWE.com website said that the network
“will change not just the squared circle, but
all of entertainment” and “it’ll be a brand
new day for watching the greatest matches,
moments and Superstars in sports-entertainment
history.”

The WWE will have thousands of hours of
vintage WWE footage to offer as part of the
network’s lineup, but it will most likely not
feature the network’s signature cable show
Monday Night Raw. The weekly, live twohour
show, which is averaging 5.3 million
viewers on USA Network thus far in 2011, is
under contract with the “Characters Welcome”
network through October 2014, according
to sources close to both parties.

It’s unclear how long WWE’s deal with
Syfy runs for distribution of the WWE’s Friday
night series WWE SmackDown. To date,
that series is averaging 3.1 million viewers
for Syfy, which acquired the show in April 2010 after it had previously aired on mynetworkTV.

Neither USA nor Syfy offi cials would comment on the
ramifications of a WWE Network launch on their WWE
properties.

WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has been
hinting for years at launching a WWE 24-hour channel .
In February 2010 he announced that the network would
launch within an 18-month period and would enhance
the company’s current basic cable show as well as its PPV
content.

WWE executives would not comment on the potential
launch of Th e WWE Network.

March