At this point, most of our readers probably know about the revolutionary new WWE Network that launches in February. This is the first time that an entertainment provider has made their content available for streaming, including recently aired and live events, on demand without the need for a third-party provider. This is an interesting time for streaming media, and it all starts on the PlayStation 4. We can’t help but wonder: what could this mean for the future of media on the PS4? What wonders will we see in this console’s lifetime? Is there trouble on the way?
Here are five potential ways that media could change on the PS4 because of the WWE Network.
Sony Could Use the Network as a Model for PlayStation Now
Joe recently wrote an editorial on what Sony could learn from the WWE Network for the implementation of PlayStation Now. Thinking about it more since then, it is easy to see that the WWE Network provides a good model for the game streaming service.
One of the WWE Network’s biggest draws is the inclusion of live pay-per-views (one of the WWE’s biggest moneymakers) in the low $9.99 price. Now, what if Sony took this model and implemented something similar with PlayStation Now? Would gamers be willing to pay upwards of $25, or even $30 a month to play not only PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2 games, but possibly select PS4 games as well? Much like the content on the WWE Network, Sony would be able to rotate content out regularly to avoid players getting too much time with one game.
While this is a pipe dream at best, it does make a modicum of sense. Sony, just like consumers, has to realize that not every month is going to have an A-list game that everyone is going to rush out to buy. This would be one way to make up for slow months, and the WWE Network is providing the perfect model.
Other Sports Concerns Getting in on the Action
OK, technically the WWE is “sports entertainment,” but work with us a little here. Once the WWE breaks off with their Network and begins streaming their live shows directly without the need of a cable or satellite provider, why wouldn’t other sports groups consider following the WWE’s lead?
Now, I don’t expect the NFL or NBA to abandon traditional television anytime soon, but what about UFC? They are similar to the WWE in that they have a large backlog of past events to show, have original programming that is currently airing on other networks, and have major pay-per-views that don’t always get the most exposure because people would rather not watch them or find free online streams to avoid paying the cost. A UFC Network would make perfect sense for the mixed martial arts league if the WWE Network is a success.
But UFC is just one example. There are possibilities for other PPV-heavy or television-neglected sports like boxing or Major League Soccer. WWE Network has the potential to open the doors for many sports in the realm of online streaming.
Networks Launching Their Own Services
How many times have we read news reports about Viacom or NBC Universal or some other television group getting into a spat with Comcast, DirecTV, or other cable/satellite provider over money? How much does the network get? How much does the provider get? It is all quite tiring, with the viewers often paying the price when networks are pulled because the two sides couldn’t get along.
The WWE Network is providing an example for how television networks could bring their live and recent content directly to consumers without having to deal with cable and satellite companies. There is only one entity that would be getting any money: the network itself. We believe that the WWE Network could pave the way for the Viacoms, NBC Universals, and other networks of the world to provide streaming services directly to the consumer for a fee instead of continuing to be hampered by the likes of DirecTV or Comcast.
However, there is a good chance that these networks would pull their old content from services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, which means…