After trying unsuccessfully for years to create his own cable channel, Vince McMahon decided to take his spandex unitard and folding chairs and go home.
Or, more precisely, to the web, and deliver a Stone Cold-like double-middle-finger salute to the cable cabal that thwarted him all this time.
This is particularly interesting, because the company has expressed interest for years in launching a cable network of its own. Its decision to switch directions and go into online streaming is either indicative of an inability to make that happen, or an understanding of how television viewing habits are quickly shifting, and how more people are watching on-demand content on devices other than televisions.
Given that the WWE app will offer scheduled content, it could theoretically appear in a programming guide right next to a conventional cable channel without looking or feeling radically different. Microsoft’s Xbox One, for example, already has some of this built into its OneGuide TV software.
Equally interesting is how a company with such deep ties to the cable industry is proactively embracing the emerging medium of streaming TV apps. This is potentially what a “channel” from upstart media companies could resemble in the future.
The nerds will be first into the fray on this, and considering that once you pay for $120 of a yearlong subscription, you get everything including over $300 worth of WWE’s biggest PPV events, I think it’s going to be a hit.
But what do I know?
I still live far enough out in the country where my internet is spotty due to weather (Wi-Max) and it’s only good for about 1.5MB up and down. I can’t count on getting decent enough video to watch via the internet through my laptop, much less good enough to “throw” onto my TV screen (or God forbid my theater screen!) and watch without getting utterly pissed off at hangs, pixelation, and buffering.
Apparently, many (most?) people DO live with either blazing fast, and thick pipe FiOS, or almost equally good cable provided internet, and watching something via the ‘Net is gonna be the “new normal.”
As J.R. likes to say: “Bidness… is about to pick up!”