SBD/February 25, 2014/Media

WWE Network Back On Track After Opening Day Demand Exceeds Expectations

MLBAM appears to have "worked through the launch-day crush" for WWE Network after being "overwhelmed" by the demand for subscriptions, according to David Lieberman of DEADLINE.com. MLBAM said the demand for the over-the-top network "exceeded anything we have seen in 14 years of doing e-commerce." The WWE said the new $9.99-a-month online video network had been "unable to process most orders since" 9:00am ET yesterday (DEADLINE.com, 2/24). In N.Y., Claire Atkinson noted WWE was "offering a free trial week of WWE Network to fans" beginning last night (NYPOST.com, 2/24). USA TODAY's Brian Truitt profiles the service and notes the "immediate goal" of the WWE Network is to be similar to both a "traditional ad-supported cable network [and] a Netflix-like on-demand subscription service." Subscribers will have "more than 1,000 hours of digitized content to dive into, including high-profile matches and pay-per-view events going back more than 30 years." All the connectivity "fits with the WWE's emphasis on social media." A "second-screen experience" via the WWE app will allow fans "to tweet and interact with others while watching live content in addition to other features, such as 'pop-up' historical factoids and background information on wrestlers." One major goal of the network is "persuading lapsed fans to return." Hulk Hogan, who recently re-signed with the company, will "have a role in the WWE Network" (USA TODAY, 2/25).

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: USA TODAY's John Morgan reports the UFC's new Fight Pass digital network on Saturday converts from "free-preview status to a fee-based subscription product." The service, like WWE Network, costs $9.99 a month and is "available online via personal computers, as well as iOS and Android devices." Expansion to "additional platforms like Roku and Apple TV is expected in the near future." Fight Pass has been "available since December on a trial basis." UFC officials declined to reveal how many subscribers the service earned during the trial, but UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik said that the company "is pleased with the early numbers." Zelaznik said that the UFC is "committed to delivering a wide range of programming to make Fight Pass a must-have for MMA fans." However, some fans and media "quickly labeled the product an unfinished beta test, while others expressed security concerns." Zelaznik "insisted user privacy is of the utmost importance to the company and that while UFC Fight Pass is a developing product, it's also one of which the promotion already is proud" (USA TODAY, 2/25).
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