- Taken from the WWE website -
If you are a fan of the WWE, getting this app is a no brainer. If you are not a fan, then not getting it is just as easy a decision. Since this might be a portent for things to come in media viewing, everyone might want to take a look at what is going on here. Let’s dig in.
The first thing I did with the WWE app was to watch their live hour-long announcement at CES (The Comsumer Electronics Show) on my iPad Air, Airplaying to my Apple TV. This was an important test because it is the biggest reason to go all in here: live streaming. The sound and video were crisp and clear without a hitch for the entire presentation. This bodes well.
The following Friday I watched Smackdown and had less than stellar results. I had the show on regular TV with the WWE app open as a second screen, following the Twitter feed and looking at bios of the superstars in the ring. At just about every commercial break, the app crashed and returned me to the iPad home screen. This did not bode well.
The Monday after that I watched RAW on TV, again with the WWE app as a second screen, and the app did not crash once, and only one time did it fail to show a video during a commercial break. They are having problems and they are addressing them quickly. Boding pretty well, and improving steadily.
What is going on in the WWE app during the commercial breaks is additional content. At one point a match continued on during the commercial break and the app automatically showed the continuing action during the commercials on TV. I cannot see the TV advertisers liking that much. I liked it just fine. Otherwise, when a match is not continuing through the commercial breaks, there are live videos in the app with interviews and other news of interest to fans.
As a test I looked up my favorite wrestler from when I was a kid in Detroit back in the late 1960′s, the original Sheik. There was a wonderful writeup on him that was much more complete than I expected. I am very pleased with the completeness and there was even a video of him throwing fire during a match. (The text shown below scrolls down to reveal a continuation of the article.)
- snapped on my iPad, viewing the WWE app -
There are lots of videos and other information from the past that you can view in the app right now, but keep in mind that the WWE app doesn’t really go live until February 24, 2014, right after RAW ends that evening — you will need to update the app at that time. This is where things change and you get to start spending money. And you also get to start saving money, particularly if you have been paying for their monthly pay-per-view events.
Today it costs about $45 to purchase a viewing of a PPV event. If you pay for three of those each year it adds up to $135. If you instead subscribe to the WWE network you will get all twelve PPVs, and it will cost you $120. Whether you have cable service or not, that is a remarkable savings and a gain of a lot of additional on-demand content.
But there’s more.
Today the WWE app serves as a second screen to the live TV shows. Soon it can replace your TV completely and you can watch on your iPad anywhere you have an adequate data stream from cellular or WiFi. In addition to live TV shows and PPV events, you will be able to watch older TV shows and older PPVs on demand. All still for the same $10 per month fee. And other new live shows will be added to this mix.
Exactly how much on-demand older content will be available on launch? That is the great question. Since their initial announcement at CES the WWE has been backtracking on the number of hours that will be available. I take this to mean that as time goes on the library will grow and grow. There will immediately be a rich selection of old PPVs going back to the beginnings of ECW, WCW, and the WWE — the list looks complete for all three promotions, but this list is too long for me to verify them one by one. As for how much other older content will be available at the initial launch, your guess is as good as mine.
The biggest immediate draw for your money is for PPVs going forward, and all the older PPVs of the big three promotions. Subscriptions are for $60 for six months of complete access to all live TV content, their growing backlog of programming, and the library of information about current and past wrestling superstars. You do not need any sort of TV access or cable TV service to enjoy any of this. It is a fantastic deal for the right kind of person. Personally, I’m going to wait until rerun season to pony up $60 and drink it all in.
The WWE app is free. Subscribing to live content will cost you $60 for six months of 24/7 all access to live TV, live PPVs, and on-demand content including what appears to be a complete backlog of PPV events from ECW, WCW, and WWE.
Disclosure: I have been a long-time professional wrestling fan. I wrote opinion articles for CRZ’s now defunct Slash Wrestling site for about two years. I acquired the free WWE app out of curiosity and have no connection whatsoever to the WWE or any other wrestling promotion.