More information on WWE Network improvements.
Prior to WWE SummerSlam, WWE rolled out a new version of the Network, which saw an updated interface, an improved search, and more. The update didn't come without complaints as sections were removed, and there were buffering issues when it came to live streaming NXT TakeOver: Toronto and SummerSlam. A month later, the missing sections have returned and NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff ran smoothly for the majority of the fanbase.
The next major change to the WWE Network would seem to be a tiered version, which has been discussed since fall 2018.
WWE Co-President George Barrios spoke to The Verge about what fans can expect with a tiered Network.
Free: This will offer the same free-to-watch videos you’d normally find on WWE.com. Barrios said WWE might also offer timed previews of paid WWE Network content.
Regular: The standard WWE Network experience, combining free content with subscription benefits like live pay-per-views, on-demand streaming, and original programming.
Premium: “We think there’s also an opportunity to super-serve our most passionate Network subscribers with a premium tier that’ll bring together more content for them, more features for them, and also integrating some of our other non-video services like our commerce — potentially integrating something like free shipping, bringing together our digital ticketing efforts in there. It becomes the one place to experience everything WWE.” Barrios didn’t disclose how much WWE might charge for the premium tier.
Along with a tiered Network, fans will be able to download videos, allowing them to watch anywhere without using data or worrying about a WiFi connection. However, fans shouldn't expect 4K video to hit the Network anytime soon.
“4K, I think that will be driven more by the penetration of 4K devices and then 4K consumption. It seems like a century ago, but when we moved to HD 10 years ago or so, we waited until about 25 or 30 percent of the big screens in the homes were HD-capable,” Barrios said. “I think similarly, both from a broadband standpoint (5G driving some of it) as well as the big screen penetration of 4K, when we go 4K kind of will be driven by that. To your point, we’ve experimented with it, but I wouldn’t expect a significant amount of video content in 4K this year certainly.”
And WWE Network is unlikely to be available as part of a channel subscription package through Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon. “It becomes a tradeoff of economics, access to data, things of that nature,” Barrios said. “To be honest with you, it’s not something that we get a lot of commentary on from our audience, from our fans. It’s something we think about. At this point though, that mix of economics and the data is just not something we felt comfortable with.”
There is no word on when the tiered Network will be available to fans.