Why I stopped watching WWE Network
When the WWE announced their paid-for subscription service offering a 24/7 access to wrestling archives, the wrestling geek in me rejoiced. Launching in America first, before rolling out to the rest of the world thereafter, it felt like an age for it to reach UK shores.
Many a time I had to watch an episode of Raw or Smackdown, hearing the “sports entertainers” (and my, how I hate that phrase) repeat and re-repeat the mantra “all for just 9.99!”
Various issues led to the UK being the last country to have the service launched. Whilst the rest of the world was able to watch, we had to wait.
Given that the UK is the second largest market for the WWE, I was hoping that they would get their friends across the pond to embrace the launch of the WWE Network in the UK by way of an incentive.
What they actually did was to launch it in the UK for £9.99 – a sharp increase from the dollar price of $9.99 that everyone else paid.
Several months later, that price is still the same.
I signed up nonetheless. I am, as they refer to us in the wrestling world, pretty much a fully-fledged mark. I generally cheer when I’m supposed to, boo when it’s expected and readily set aside my knowledge that the whole affair is fixed in order to enjoy the show that is put on.
Now, after several months, I am cancelling my WWE Network subscription. Why? A few reasons, to be honest, but the main one that sticks in the throat is having to overpay for the service.
For comparison, I paid £9.99 per month for the WWE Network. I’m a wrestling fan, but there is only so much wrestling that I want to watch. I watch Raw every week, which is three hours worth (or about an hour and a half after you remove the adverts, such is the way of American TV), and sometimes I feel inclined to watch the two hours of Smackdown too.
Once a month I try to catch the Pay Per View which is being shown, all of which are free to watch on the Network, whilst only some are free to watch on Sky (and even then, you need a Sky Sports subscription to watch them). The rest of the PPVs are generally about £15 each.
If I watched every PPV – assuming that one in four are free on Sky (and I believe they are moving to an all-paid model soon) – then I’d pretty much break even with the subscription fee.
If I could watch Raw on the WWE Network, which I currently cannot, I could cancel my Sky Sports subscription and the Network would be much more fiscally appealing.
I also subscribe to two other pay-monthly entertainment services; Netflix and Google Play Music.
Netflix costs me £5.99 per month (or £6.99 if you happen to be a new subscriber). For that, I share a log in with Mrs DannyUK, and it probably gets watched by at least one of us daily. For the use that it gets from us, it is far better value for money than the WWE Network.
Google Play Music costs another £9.99 per month, but with that I get advert-free access to just about every track that I could want.
Given that I spend the majority of my working day travelling in the car, the subscription saves me from boredom. Although I could probably cancel the monthly cost and find a way to listen to music with adverts, I must admit that I don’t begrudge paying so much for a service that I use so often.
Being in a society with instant access to everything is great, but it’s fast becoming a society where you have to pay for convenience.
I don’t mind that, but the convenience and usage has to be reflective of the cost that is applied. WWE Network cannot justify that cost, in my opinion.
The final straw for me was when I bought a Chromebook. I tend to use my laptop to watch Netflix and WWE Network in bed. What hadn’t occurred to me was that something with a worldwide presence like the WWE Network doesn’t work on Chromebook.
Netflix does, thankfully, but that was pretty much the final nail in the coffin.
I am now an ex-WWE Network customer.
I know that I can rejoin at any time, as there is now no tie-in period involved. I also know, though, that I can use Hola Better Internet to bypass the proxy and pretend that I’m a US viewer, thus being able to pay the lower amount of $9.99 instead of the higher sterling equivalent.
More than that, though, is the fact that I can pretty much watch any live wrestling event via other means. It doesn’t take much to find a link to watch a live PPV event online – a simple Twitter search will normally provide something decent. Those links are watchable on Chromebooks.
If WWE want my custom back, they need to consider doing the following:
• Reducing the price of the UK subscription to match the American cost
• Adding Chromebook as a valid method of watching the Network
• Putting Raw onto the live Network schedule
• Allowing multi-use of each log-in, so that several devices can log in at once
Four steps. That’s all it would take to bring me back into the WWE fold. I bet I’m not alone.
Your move, Vince McMahon.