Thursday, February 6, 2014
The WWE Network's Impact On Collecting
There's a large portion of wrestling fans that do not collect much memorabilia. They aren't interested in action figures, trading cards, magazines, programs, or promotional photos. They could care less about obtaining an autograph or even snagging a photo with their favorite star. Their sole monetary investment into the world of wrestling is collecting footage. From the mid-1970's until about fifteen years ago, tape trading was a huge deal. Since the turn of the century, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs have crept into the wrestling collector conscious. Some fans collect each and every pay-per-view release. Others go for everything that WWE Home Video puts out. Others enjoy their pretty blue encased lineup of Blu-Rays.
There will obviously be exceptions to this statement, but it is a pretty amazing thought that all of this will be available at any subscribing fan's fingertips on a whim. New content will be added regularly, and many fans are expecting this to be non-pay-per-view supercards, old wrestling television broadcasts, and so much more from a variety of areas, eras, and promotions. So how exactly will this impact collectors? I can only give my own take.
Many have already given the nickname of "WWEFlix" to the WWE Network. It's fitting, as the business model is close to that of Netflix. Did Netflix kill the DVD and Blu-Ray market? Absolutely not. It certainly cut into the business of tangible media, but it has nowhere near killed it. Many of those that have kept the DVD and Blu-Ray business alive are collectors who are, with all respect given, anal about their collections. Wrestling collectors certainly resemble that remark in the best possible meaning. These collectors are perfectly able to enjoy a streaming and/or digital version of the content of their choice, but they want something more.
There is also the unavoidable fact that when content is strictly streaming, it can be taken from you at anytime. Perhaps WWE will feel that having every pay-per-view available is just TOO good of a deal after awhile. Even Netflix is a revolving door and eliminates content at times. What if you're in the mood to watch SummerSlam 2002 or Survivor Series 1987 and suddenly they're gone from the Network? You pop in the DVD, of course. There's also no guarantee that the price will not rise in a few years. While I have my doubts that it will ever raise beyond being a sizable deal, there are many personal scenarios that could leave a fan without access for a period of time.
WWE has not released any info regarding future DVD and Blu-Ray releases being affected by the advent of the Network. There's also absolutely no reason to believe that they cannot co-exist. Though past WWE Home Video releases such as documentaries and compilations are going to be available on the Network, it is unknown at this time just how fast future additions in that area will show up there. New pay-per-view events have already been announced as being available directly after.