The World Wrestling Federation is coming to a Playstation near you.
Or an Xbox. Or a Roku.
Soon you may be able to find your favorite wrestlers everywhere. Except on their own cable channel.
The sports entertainment giant on Wednesday announced it was launching a subscription video service – think Netflix for wrestling – that would stream on the aforementioned devices at a cost of $9.99 per month.
It is a bold move by the company, which for decades has provided programming to cable channels such as USA Network and TNN (now Spike TV).
Those programs aren’t going away, but it’s significant that when Vince McMahon decided to make his big move he skipped cable and went straight to Internet streaming.
(The practice, believe it or not, is known in the media industry as “over-the-top” content delivery.)
In this L.A. Times article McMahon is quoted calling the cable model “too restrictive” and said the streaming network gives WWE “control of our own destiny.”
He knows which way the wind blows.
This is the new À la carte. Actually, it’s not “the new” it is “the.” If it were “the new” that would imply consumers were already given the option via cable companies.
But who knows if, or when, that’s ever going to happen. Cable companies can offer various bundles and tier pricing but they may never give many customers what they want: the option to choose individual channels.
Fortunately, that’s becoming less of an inconvenience. Now you can add the WWE to the list of properties available via online subscription.
The number of devices and televisions being built to deliver streaming channels is also increasing, and the “cord-cutting” trend got a big boost this week when Roku showcased its upcoming line of televisions at the International CES in Las Vegas.
I’m not saying cable is doomed. I’m just saying brighter days are ahead for the choosy consumer.
You want movies? You can have Amazon or Netflix for $7 or $8. Baseball? The annual subscription comes out to about $11 per month. Like wrestling? Tack on another $10.
That makes your monthly bill a little more than $30 for movies and sports you want to see. Isn’t that where most cable companies price their “basic” level?
You know where I’m going with this.