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What's the timetable on this? I haven't heard anything about it in a while.

 

Any possibility they'd show TV blocks (Worldwide, Pro, Saturday Night, etc) in chronological order, then air the big show they are building to? I know, it's not going to happen, but it would be nice.

 

I just hope they don't start from the beginning with the TBS and Monday Night Wars stuff they've already shown on the on-demand version of 24/7.

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This was in the most recent Observer:

 

Regarding the creation of a TV network, which was pegged at 12 to 18 months from fruition, it was noted the company spent $4 million last year to digitize about 27,000 hours worth of their library, and has earmarked $5 million this year to continue the process. They also talked it could be creating a network, or it could be hybrid of using a number of different platforms.

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Here's some notes from the Torch site from the WWE's CFO talking about the channel at a conference:

 

"Barrios discussed throughout the 35-minute presentation the importance of WWE's forthcoming TV Network, which he described as a "potential game-changer" for WWE. Barrios said the current plan is to roll out a formal TV Network in some form within the next 12-18 months after the groundwork is taken care of internally.

 

Barrios said one aspect is ready - digitizing their video library - which they are calling "Project Evergreen." Barrios noted WWE is taking some of their $4-5 million capital expenditure investment to develop new filmed content for the Network. The other aspect is continued discussions with potential TV partners to establish the look & feel of a Network.

 

"I've said publicly if we're successful to the degree I think we can be successful, it's a game-changer for the company," Barrios said at the end of the conference.

 

Barrios noted when WWE first announced plans to roll out a TV Network, the plan was a traditional TV Network model, but massive changes to the media industry have led them to re-think a potential hybrid model. This was covered during WWE's first quarter conference call last month."

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For a company with a subscription based web video service, the lack of support for it on anything other than a Windows PC is baffling. They badly need to rethink that model and start supporting Roku boxes and whatnot. I would say that maybe they need to think outside the box by licensing large blocks of old shows to Netflix, but so much of their content needs to be re-edited to fix music and trademark rights issues that it would take a very long time or only be made up of stuff previously shown on the two Classics services. That is presumably why they've been less productive than they we would like.

 

Of course, they've also edited out music that they owned at times, so who knows what they're thinking...

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For a company with a subscription based web video service, the lack of support for it on anything other than a Windows PC is baffling. They badly need to rethink that model and start supporting Roku boxes and whatnot. I would say that maybe they need to think outside the box by licensing large blocks of old shows to Netflix, but so much of their content needs to be re-edited to fix music and trademark rights issues that it would take a very long time or only be made up of stuff previously shown on the two Classics services. That is presumably why they've been less productive than they we would like.

 

Of course, they've also edited out music that they owned at times, so who knows what they're thinking...

I'm really hoping they decide to at least test this route in the future, putting up, for example, "Superstars 1987 season" and "RAW 1998 season", just like the other TV shows on Netflix.

 

Definitely could be some time, however, considering they just started to really release any WWE content on Netflix's Instant Streaming service in the past few months, and even then they did it very quietly with no hype. Love that most of their documentaries are getting release on here now though.

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Given Vince McMahon's recent statements and the overall direction of the company, I wouldn't hold your breath for any 'classic wrestling' to be shown in any sort of quantity. I've got a feeling one of the major purposes of this channel will be to plug any movie/TV/general entertainment projects the company drifts into.

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This was in the most recent Observer:

 

Regarding the creation of a TV network, which was pegged at 12 to 18 months from fruition, it was noted the company spent $4 million last year to digitize about 27,000 hours worth of their library, and has earmarked $5 million this year to continue the process. They also talked it could be creating a network, or it could be hybrid of using a number of different platforms.

So, 27,000 hours = what percentage of their collection?

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From what I've seen of other channels, my impression is that classic footage doesn't appeal to the masses. ESPN Classic has become an extremely marginalized channel, frequently falling off basic cable packages. The MLB Network had a wealth of classic games its first year but has shown only one classic game in full in the last six months. My gut feeling is that a WWE channel would contain more things like repeats of the John Morrison or John Cena bios. Current programming endlessly replayed.

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Understood, but to digitalize 27,000 hours of footage...that has to go back a fair bit years-wise, doesn't it?

 

I guess a definition of "Digitized" is needed, as I assume the programming they currently make is digitally archived. Question is, when did they start doing that with their programming? You'd have to measure the 27,000 hours moving backwards from there.

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WWE made a claim of having 75,000 hours years ago, before a few of the library purchases. Last official number was 80,000 or 85,000, IIRC. Keep in mind that probably includes tons stuff like raw footage (of basically everything, look at the section about the Mr. Perfct skits in the Hennig doc) and auditions (they kept Bischoff's from 1990 and showed a clip on Confidential), in addition to all sorts of different international TV shows (recap or otherwise) when it comes to (W)WWF/E alone. And that's not even scratching the surface, since they've occasionally made montages that used short clips of house shows that weren't from one of the recognizable regularly taped arenas.

 

Then you add the WCW/TBS wrestling library which, at a minimum, includes all JCP TV from late '81 to the buyout and all WCW TV, possibly a ton of raw footage (based on the Horsemen DVD and something a friend procured), the last couple years of GCW and maybe all CWG, and maybe some odds and ends. AWA and Florida nobody's really sure about, but they seemingly have a ton of arena films from the latter, as it's their go to source for guys they don't have footage of in other territories, and it included previously unseen stuff like Terry Bollea being trained by Pat Patterson and Bob Roop stretching some guy. WCCW/Dallas and Stampede appear to have tons from the late '70s on and a decent amount of older footage. For the Kowalski HOF content on COD, they used multiple matches from the '50s "Texas Rasslin" syndicated show at the Sportatorium.

 

They've just scratched the surface, but it's easy to believe, if just because people keep unearthing more and more weird international WWF TV with stuff like Bob Bradley doing a fake Tiger Mask gimmick in '85 on Australian TV and Tenryu showing up on Swedish TV in '93. There were a lot more variations than just language and local promos for a while there

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My gut feeling is that a WWE channel would contain more things like repeats of the John Morrison or John Cena bios. Current programming endlessly replayed.

If this is a true 24-hour network we're talking about here, they'd run out of current programming so fast that I think they'd be forced to use older material. Unless they were literally replaying basically the exact same stuff every day, they just don't generate enough footage to fill up the time. In a single day you could probably air everything they produced from a month's worth of television. So either they're gonna be airing quite a bit of old rassling, or they're gonna have the suckiest cable channel this side of current-day MTV.

 

Understood, but to digitalize 27,000 hours of footage...that has to go back a fair bit years-wise, doesn't it?

By my very rough calculations, I think the WWE generates approximately 400 hours of new programming per year. It might be a little off, that's including commercials, but that's a decent ballpark estimate for their modern business model from the last dozen years (basically, ever since Smackdown debuted). So yeah, their own in-house programming from the day Vince Jr took over still constitutes a small fraction of their overall tape library.
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They've just scratched the surface, but it's easy to believe, if just because people keep unearthing more and more weird international WWF TV with stuff like Bob Bradley doing a fake Tiger Mask gimmick in '85 on Australian TV and Tenryu showing up on Swedish TV in '93. There were a lot more variations than just language and local promos for a while there

That's awesome. Wasn't Bob Bradley also doing Battle Kat in 1991 for a while after Brady Boone left/was fired ?

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If this is a true 24-hour network we're talking about here, they'd run out of current programming so fast that I think they'd be forced to use older material. Unless they were literally replaying basically the exact same stuff every day, they just don't generate enough footage to fill up the time. In a single day you could probably air everything they produced from a month's worth of television. So either they're gonna be airing quite a bit of old rassling, or they're gonna have the suckiest cable channel this side of current-day MTV.

They don't need to fill 24 hours of programing with "new" stuff each day. Not really how the cable world works, especially niche channels. I think some of us have had some discussions on this board and elsewhere about this over the past decade or so, which means some of this might be repetative... sorry in advance if it is.

 

Two good examples to look at are FoodTV and Discovery.

 

Tonight, Food's primetime lineup is largely made up of four series:

 

Throwdown (30 minute episodes)

Triple D (30)

Dinner:Impossible (60)

Best In Smoke (60)

 

They air two Throwdowns, two Triple D's, one D:I and one Best In Smoke as the core block. Six episodes for a total 4 hours. They then repeat all of those episodes, eating up a total 8 hours this evening.

 

None of those six episodes are "new". D:I hasn't aired done a new episode in 2011. One of the Throwdown's debuted in January, the other is older. Both Triple D's are old. Best in Smoke is the closest to new: this episode debuted on Sunday, got an initial re-run that same night, and now later in the week is getting two more re-run in primetire/core time slots.

 

Discovery has six hours of Mythbusters anchoring it's core times tonight: a debut of a new episode, a re-airing of that episode later in the night, two airings of last week's episode, and those four hours loosely wrapped by two older episodes (one going back to the first season of 2003).

 

It's not limited to entertainment. MSNC's prime hours are largely packed by:

 

1 new Hardball

1 new Ed

1 new Last Word

1 new Rachel

2 Hardball re-airs

1 Ed re-air

2 Last Word re-airs

2 Rachel re-air

 

That's 11 hours of "programing" that are really just 4 "new" hours.

 

The balance of Food and Discoveries programing day (i.e. morning and afternoon) are filled up with a lot of re-run stuff.

 

One of the times these discussions come up, I should probably sift through Food and Discovery for a Month to see just how many hours of "debut" material they show in a Day / Week / Month. I think it would surprise us just how little it is.

 

Anyway, think of just one night's primetime of the WWE Channel being eaten up this way:

 

"Friday Night PPV's"

 

Let's just say that we don't edit any of the show out. I know that's not likely given thing like Benoit and whoever else is on the shitlist this week, but let's go with that. PPV is roughly 3 hours. With TV, a 1 hour block is roughly 40 minutes of programming and 20 minutes of commercials. Not perfect, but on a DVD it tends to be "42 minutes" of which a chunk is opening and closing credits, though they are getting wiser on that (many shows don't have old school credits, and instead roll even the lead actors names under the actually action of the current episode). Many shows on cable have teasers and resets built into the 42 minutes to preview what's coming up and what just happened... which sucks, but it's there. The WWE would also likely do new "wraps" such as what we see Mean Gene doing on MSG Classics, which eats up time. Anyway... 40 minutes of programing, 20 minutes of commericals + other crap.

 

A "three hour PPV" could easily be tossed into a 4 hour time slot.

 

Then instantly re-aired.

 

7-11pm

11pm-2am

 

There's 8 hours, your entire Friday night core.

 

12 PPV's a month from 1996-2011 in the WWF/WWE. Set aside that some of them were IYH that were shorter, because we're not factoting in the Mania's that are longer... or the times the WWE/WWF ran extra shows in month, or anything else like that. Just a simple 12 PPV times 16 years. That's 192 PPVs. That's 3.69 years of Friday Night PPVS.

 

Wait...

 

We haven't counted 1985-1995.

 

Or WCW.

 

Or ECW.

 

Or other oddball things like Shea Stadium, UK PPVs, early pre-ppv Starcardes / Crockett Cup, all of the WCW PPVs, ECW PPVS.

 

Conservatively 7 years of Friday Night PPVs? And each year they generate another 12 to add onto the end of the run?

 

That's one night, it doesn't seem like much...

 

But Raw has been two hours for how long? Use it as an anchor for a night. 2 hours + Re-Air = 4 core hours eaten up.

 

Same for Smackdown, Nitro, Thunder. Those have shorter runs, but still eat up time.

 

Stuff like old Crockett and World Class and WCW and SuperStars and Challenge can eat up the daytime / afternoon

 

There would be a certain amount of New For WWE Channel programing created, along the lines of the Roundtables and the Bios, etc. You probably also want to create some show that in a sense form a weekly wrap up of what's going on the various shows. You probably want to air this after all new current programming (i.e. Raw and SD) airs. In addition, something like "Road To [insert Current PPV Coming Up]" is an easy thing to roll out on PPV day.

 

There are a ton of cheap things they can do.

 

I think some of us have also advocated them running a Live Saturday Night House Show. Don't run it like Raw or Smackdown with over the top production and backstage stuff, but in a sense like a spiffed up house. They run Raw and Smackdown on Saturdays, so this allows you to alternate them so it's not the same crew every night. It also lets you do think to cover for when one is out of the country and it might be expensive to send in a film crew (Mexico recently). Also, with an every-other-week aspect, you can adjust your booking on cards so that you're not giving everything away nor be stressed to come up with 52 different cards, but instead 26 (or less if you do things like the HOF on the WWE Channel).

 

Two major reasons to run live?

 

* Live programing draws more eyes on TV

* TV shows draw more than House shows in the arenas

 

Raw and SD tv tapings draw more than non-tapings. This had the potential to bump some attendance.

 

On the other side, Live Saturday is likely to be the biggest draw of the week on the Channel, despite the night of the week. It will out draw any old re-run they'd thrown on Saturdays.

 

Cost likely can be kept cheap: don't throw a shitload into the production side. You want to do it professionally, but don't go insane. It should be budgeted for a fraction of what Raw and SD are costing.

 

The other easy thing for them to do is work with their current Raw/SD partners so that with the next contract, the WWE Channel airs the prior week's episode in the two hour block before the new Raw/SD airs. In a sense a "lead in", and flip over to the partner's channel. It's a small thing, but in a sense creates a four hour WWE viewing block those two nights.

 

Anyway, there are a lot of things like this they can do.

 

 

 

By my very rough calculations, I think the WWE generates approximately 400 hours of new programming per year. It might be a little off, that's including commercials, but that's a decent ballpark estimate for their modern business model from the last dozen years (basically, ever since Smackdown debuted). So yeah, their own in-house programming from the day Vince Jr took over still constitutes a small fraction of their overall tape library.

We did the math at some point, and it was major huge. Very few cable channels have launched with as much in the vault as the WWE has. And probably few of them can as cheaply create "new" content as the WWE can. Creating new content like the Mythbusters takes a lot of time, a large staff, five on air people doing something new, etc. Doing a "Shawn's Greatest At Mania" show could take almost nothing of you go bare bones of just airing the matches with no new comments or wraps. Even simple wraps that don't feature new on-air speaking (i.e. Mean Gene or even Shawn talking about them) cost little.

 

Vince should have done this a long time ago. I'm a broken record on this: the time for it was at the time they jerked off with the XFL. All those resources and good will toss at this... really dumb not to have done it.

 

 

John

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I was going to make the same point John did. If you look at things like FoodTV or the National Geographic Channel or whatever, they are all airing basically the same loop of programming all day, with a couple of adjustments in that cycle based on what time of day it is. Lower tier movie channels fill time with half hour "whatever happened to..." shows and the like.

 

WWE is definitely going to go down that same path. They will create a couple cheap in-house "the real life of your favourite WWE Superstar" shows (maybe even a new "where are they now" thing for past employees), Tough Enough will air 3 times a day in a 24 hour cycle, probably re-airs of their other core programming, PPV re-broadcasts, and old Raw and Nitros. Any of those shows you can air twice on whatever their day is, if not three times in a 24 hour cycle. I doubt they are going to break nearly as much new ground as most of us hardcore fans would want them to.

 

A lot of their stuff that is "vaulted" is never coming out, ever. That shit is going to be sealed up to the public like the Vatican sitting on God knows how many billions worth of European art. It's a shame but I would be stunned if it played out any other way.

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I would expect that the easy stuff in the vault will come out. That falls into two categories of easy:

 

* things they've already moved or already are moving that's to 24/7

 

* thing that need extremely little effort to move in terms of time and cost

 

On the first, examples would be some of the TV shows that they are already slowly going through on 24/7. It looks like they've done several years of the weekly Primetime show... it looks like 3/20/89 is airing in May. That's easy to throw out at 9 am in the morning. They may have already done everything on the TNT series. Etc.

 

One reason why a lot of the house shows from the 70s and 80s will be done is because they're cheap to do. There isn't the logo issue. There aren't any great production numbers. They may have to tinker around with the music here and there, but when converted it's 2+ hours of stuff, especially figuring in commercials. There's a 3 hour block of primetime TV they can fill ones a week with MSG, Philly, Boston and various other ones. Lots of Big Stars from the 80s on them as well. Pretty cheap and easy. And there are quite a few of them, so it would give the series several years to run by doing it.

 

24/7 is probably a good guide of what they've found easy and/or worthwhile to do, or what they simply like.

 

John

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Re: USWA Texas stuff, there was an Austin/Dundee match from there that aired on 24/7 recently. Did they just buy out whoever released those Austin & Foley tapes or do that have rights to that whole run of stuff? It seems like an odd subset of footage that I'm not sure who would have even had the rights to it.

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Err, Jingus, he said Texas. ;)

 

The Savoldis are still doing their PPVs so if they sold anything to WWE, it was just the Texas stuff, maybe because someone had been alerted to the WCCW collection being sort of incomplete without it. If it came with the WCCW stuff, I would think they would've used it before now because there were times where it was conspicuous that they didn't have it (the same way that for licensing reasons they never show any Bret Hart Stampede clips when you'd expect them to show up, like in a montage of all of the Hart brothers who wrestled with clips from Stampede but Bret would be the only one shown in a WWF clip). Maybe they just licensed it?

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