WWE: Biggest Wrestling Promotion Failing to Keep Up with Changing TV Landscape
The WWE is still the ratings king when it comes to wrestling on television but the company has yet to move with the times in the television industry. Let's run through a few of Vince McMahon and company's issues speaking from a strictly business standpoint.
Regardless of what show you're watching of WWE's, be it Monday Night Raw or Friday Night Smackdown!, the company makes sure to plug its social media outlets. Every television show wants you tweeting about them or following their statuses on Facebook so WWE is smart to do the same.
The issue the company has on the internet front is a familiar one for networks and shows alike: putting already aired content online. WWE had a period of time where it was uploading old Smackdown shows a couple weeks after the original airdate but has stopped doing so.
What the company has also done for the past eight months or so, is crack down on YouTube uploaders putting complete episodes of Raw and Smackdown on the website based on copyright infringement. While that is the WWE's right to do so, not uploading the program itself is not a smart one to keep its fan base at its highest.
Not every wrestling fan has three hours every Monday night to watch Raw or two hours on Friday night of all nights to watch Smackdown. This is the major drawback to the WWE's love for multiple-hour programming for its premier shows.
What is puzzling is why the WWE doesn't make both shows available on Comcast's on demand for its Comcast viewers or on its YouTube channel for online viewers. Rival wrestling company TNA does both of these each and every week for its programming so it's odd to not see the more watched company follow suit.
The other major issue WWE has in the changing model of television is keeping with the out of date pay-per-view model. All of the company's pay-per-view events are offered online and the pre-show matches on YouTube is smart but why WWE hasn't taken a UFC approach to its big events makes no sense.
UFC was able to score a contract with Fox to fight cards on both FX and Fox starting in 2011 and have shown some great fights since the partnership. What might have held WWE from a similar action is its contract with NBCUniversal and the USA Network, with the former possibly uninterested in airing WWE programming on a regular basis.
Still, having to constantly pay a rather high price for monthly pay-per-views has been a complaint of many WWE fans for years. Many of these same fans have likely discovered illegal streaming websites to get their big-time WWE events instead of paying the company directly.
McMahon takes a lot of heat as the face of the business side but he's not the only one making these ill-advised decisions. The internet has changed the age-old model of television and the WWE needs to get with the times. It's a company that tries to give fans as much wrestling as possible but still hasn't taken the same savvy approaches TNA and UFC took ages ago.