Marketing

WWE Cable Network Will Tag In for 2012

4/11/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

World Wrestling Entertainment will
launch a new WWE cable network over the next year
as part of a major rebrand of the company.

The new network is expected to launch over the
next 12 to 18 months, but it’s unclear what content
would air on the
service. WWE executives
could
not be reached for
comment at press
time.

WWE chairman
and CEO
Vince McMahon
said in an interview
last year
that that the network
would not
infringe on the
WWE’s current
cable and broadcast
shows, inc
luding USA
Network’s WWE
Monday Night
Raw and Syfy’s
SmackDown, but
instead could be
used as a marketing
tool for those
programs.

The weekly, live
two-hour WWE
Monday Night
Raw franchise —
which is slated to run on USA through 2014 — is one
of cable’s most-watched weekly primetime series.
Last week’s show averaged 5.5 million households,
according to Nielsen.

Syfy’s carriage deal for SmackDown runs through
April 2013, according to sources close to both parties.

WWE also said it will look to develop original
scripted, non-scripted and animated programming,
including the April 4 launch of reality series Tough
Enough
on USA.

The series, which pits a group of 12 individuals looking
to become the next WWE “Superstar” or “Diva,”
averaged 3.3 million viewers for its premiere episode.

“The new business model of the company better reflects what WWE is all about, being a global entertainment
company,” McMahon said. “We will always
be loyal to our core business that made WWE a globally
known entity, however, the future of WWE will be
the addition of new entertainment-content opportunities
beyond the ring.”

The company, which will be rebranded under its
current initials as simply WWE, will look to acquire
entertainment-content companies as well as outsource
its television and film production, live-event
programming and licensing efforts, according to
company officials.

The new rebranding initiative includes a national
ad campaign dubbed “Bigger. Badder. Better,” which
launched during WrestleMania XXVII and will be featured
on cable TV, as well as in print and online.