One year ago today, on January 8, 2014, at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Vince McMahon stood on stage and announced the creation and launch of the WWE Network.
The much hyped announcement was attended by WWE executives along with Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, all on board to promote wrestling’s next big thing: the over-the-top service for just $9.99 a month.
The Network launched in the United States just a month later, on February 24, with the servers of MLB Advanced Media body slammed by WWE fans as they tried to sign up on that morning. Investors were looking forward to the number of subscribers and how WWE was about to change the game again going from pay-per-view to online streaming.
But a year later, a lot of question marks remain over the Network. The project is still in the red and while the number of subscribers by the end of 2014 was not released it’s almost safe to say that WWE did not reach their target of 1 million subscribers. The last count was just over 731,000 worldwide on October 30, with countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, India, Thailand, and other important WWE countries still not able to receive the service.
Over the course of the year, WWE added another one thousand plus hours of footage and removed the six month commitment, and gave the whole month of November – and the Survivor Series – free of charge to new subscribers worldwide.
Despite all the changes however, the service has not really took off the way the company expected and investors showed their lack of trust by driving WWE stocks down to over 50% during the year.
As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. But a year on, despite offering everything WWE fans can possibly want, the WWE Network is still considered a failed project to those outside WWE.