WWE President Speaks on WWE Network: Premium Tier, 4K Not Likely, more

— WWE Co-President George Barrios spoke to The Verge about the recently relaunched WWE network and the company’s future plans. Here are some highlights:
On the network’s free content:
“Our free content lived separately from our premium subscription content. They were kind of in different places. What’s coming here soon, in weeks and not months, is the beginning of integration of our free content with our paid content. It’ll be one integrated experience, and what content you can access just depends on what level member you are.”

Plans for a premium tier:
“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.”

Possibility of selling subscriptions through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Roku:
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“It becomes a tradeoff of economics, access to data, things of that nature. 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.”

Offline downloads for network content:
“I spend a lot of time on planes with bad Wi-Fi. So that’s my personal feature that I definitely want. It’s prioritized on the roadmap.”

Bringing 4K content to the WWE Network:
“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. 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.”

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