WWE Network, one of the first niche streaming video on demand services, hit a wall earlier this year when Disney bought BAMTech, the platform WWE had been using to stream its shows. WWE Network needed a new solution to continue bringing fan favorites to subscribers. According to The Verge, WWE chose Endeavor Streaming and Massive Interactive to build its new platform. Fast forward to late July when WWE announced the launch of WWE Network 2.0 to fix bugs, add missing content and new features, and more.
Here are some of the dozens of changes subscribers can expect from the new and improved WWE Network 2.0.
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- The transition to the new platform began July 24 to give users a better experience, a more intuitive interface and to improve search functionality.
- The WWE Network is now running at 1080p, improving overall quality.
- The Great American Bash shows from 1985 were added to the WCW PPV section despite not being PPV specials. These were previously only found in the Hidden Gems section.
- With some programs, a skip intro feature is now available, a feature familiar to Netflix binge watchers.
- WWE Network added a Press Conferences category.
- For ease of searchability, some shows or categories are available in multiple areas.
- WWE Top 10 is a new category under Originals. This is a series on WWE.com and YouTube that looks at ten moments of a particular topic.
- WWE Now is also a new category under Originals. While no videos were included at launch, it will include short form interviews and news snippets.
- Programs including Pre-Shows, Kickoffs, Talking Smack, RAW Talk and Backstage Passes are now available below the show they are related to.
- An UpUpDownDown Plays section and a WWE 2K18 Roster Reveal section have been added.
The upgrade has had its share of difficulties, however, but WWE Network has been steadily working on them and will continue to work on fixes as bugs are reported. Among the problems are old hyperlinks that no longer work, new stream limits, certain folders dont appear on certain devices, some sections and folders cause apps to crash, autoplay is not working properly, and some previously loaded content is missing. For a complete list of updated additions and bug fixes, visit WWENetworkNews.com.
WWE co-president George Barrios told The Verge the relaunch was a success and a significant difference from the streaming service at its 2014 launch. It will continue to expand and improve the service. With the new platform, WWE Network will be able to introduce new features and experiences, including free and premium tiers and content in multiple languages.
This new platform could help WWE Network to improve its subscriber numbers. In its June 30, 2019 earnings statement, the company reported average paid subscribers of about 1.7 million, a decrease of about 6%. The company is anticipating a further drop to 1.53 million average paid subscribers in the third quarter, representing an 8% decrease year-over-year.
Any platform changeover is a major undertaking, and WWE Network experienced its share of challenges this time around. However, in The Verge article, WWE credited Disney with its professionalism in easing away from the BAMtech platform. Once the bugs are worked out and the previously available content is reloaded, the new user experience and features could help the WWE Network retain subscribers through the regular ebb and flow of the WWE calendar. Once the technology side is ironed out, the network can get back to what it excels at – knowing what its fans want and giving it to them.