WWE Network hasn't even launched yet, and it's already creating waves in the cable/satellite industry.
On Thursday night, DirecTV released a statement about WWE Network, suggesting they could drop WWE pay-per-view events, which will be included with your $9.99 monthly subcription to WWE Network.
"Clearly we need to quickly re-evaluate the economics and viability of their business with us, as it now appears the WWE feels they do not need their PPV distributors," DirecTV said in a statement, adding that the audience for its events "has been steadily declining, and this new low-cost competitive offering will only accelerate this trend."
These are some strong words from DirecTV. Dropping WWE PPVs is a potentially landscape-shifting move from DirecTV, and if other providers followed suit, that would probably end up spurring WWE to online-only streaming of their major events. You can argue about the appeal of WWE, but their shows draw monster ratings on USA and SyFy, and their PPV events hold their own (with the exception of WrestleMania, which destroys everything in its path).
If cable pvoiders lose that huge chunk of revenue the WWE brings them through the PPVs, where will they turn to fill that hole? UFC is always there, but they're not going to double their PPVs to fill the holes that would be left by WWE. Furthemore, would WWE be able to generate enough revenue with WWE Network without raising prices to offset the loss of their PPV revenue from providers?
When we called WWE Network a potential game-changer, this is really what we meant – not "lots of cheap content for wrestling fans", but the death of the PPV model that has been a hallmark of providers for the last 20 to 30 years.