Monday 29 September 2014

The Network Launch (Not) Heard Round the World

A month or two ago it was announced on RAW that the WWE Network would be available in the UK from October 1. Today is September 29, two days before this supposed launch date, and information on the Network's British availability is distinctly hard to come by.

No price has been announced. The $9.99 a month price tag US subscribers shell out may be a good estimate. But equally it might not. We don’t know because nothing’s been announced. WWE may decide to forego adjusting the price to match the currency exchange (which would currently see subscribers here paying a peculiar £6.13 a month) and opt to charge us £9.99. Hey, they've already gotten the price over as a slogan, why not gouge UK customers for some extra cash too?

It's odd that the British launch hasn't been mentioned on RAW in recent weeks. Especially when you consider how much the Network gets mentioned during the show. It would take very little effort for Cole, Lawler or Layfield to add “Oh, by the way, the British launch is still on. Here’s some info.” They may plug it excessively tonight, and that will make sense. But there was nothing to stop them drumming up interest over the last month. Excessing plugging’s happening, so why not throw in some pertinent info?

And speaking of drumming up interest: why has a wrestler not been dispatched to Britain for a string of media appearances hyping the launch? There's a live event tour planned for November, that could've been mentioned too. Bad News Barrett's currently injured. He'd have been the ideal choice for the media blitz spot considering his knowledge ever increasing popularity here. If he were unavailable for some reason then there are scores of undercard performers treading water each week who'd probably love the chance to express a bit of character with some media appearances.
This fella wants to hear all about WWE's streaming service.
Hey, Hulk Hogan's done nothing since SummerSlam, and he was hired specifically to act as a spokesman for the WWE Network (amongst other things, obvs). Where's he? Not on This Morning laughing it up with Phillip ‘Two Ls’ Schofield that's for sure. 

I'm not saying the launch has been pushed back. But it feels like it had. WWE have done an unusually poor job of hyping the Network in what is expected to be its number two market. Perhaps they’re confident in their popularity here. But considering the talk of disappointing sign-up numbers up until this point I would have thought they’d want to try to make as big an impact as possible here. Perhaps I’m wrong.

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