Pruett's Blog: How will WWE Network relate to indie wrestling and why I don't drink Starbucks coffee
By Will Pruett
I love coffee. If I had to pick something in life to be passionate about, other than wrestling, it would be coffee. I love the flavor. I love the energy it brings. I love everything about it. Nothing can make me happier in the middle of a long afternoon than a nice cup of black coffee. It's remarkable.
As much as I love coffee, I refuse to go to Starbucks. Many people see the green, white, and black siren as the pinnacle of coffee goodness. Many people love the idea of going to the same coffee shop whether they are in Southern California, Brazil, or Switzerland. I don't. I don't want the same experience no matter where I am. I want something unique and different. I want to get a taste of the place I happen to be when I'm drinking coffee.
I would rather go to a local coffee shop for my coffee. Often, it costs a little more than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I'm fine with this. I would rather pay more for something created in a small batch, locally, and more recently.
What does this have to do with wrestling?
Well, WWE just announced their new network this week. It is rare for an announcement from WWE promoted as "game changing" to actually change the game, but this one did. WWE's network now makes their premium content available in an affordable manner to wrestling fans. While many would have balked at paying $60 for a three hour show on a monthly basis, few will mind paying $10 for a network with so much on demand content. It's the best thing possible for most wrestling fans.
What about the indies? They are now in an odd position. The average indie iPPV (from Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA, and other brands) costs about $15 for the live viewing and video on demand. This means that one indie show now costs more than one month of WWE's network, which includes that month's pay-per-view. I have no doubt that most indies need to charge this, or more, to recoup costs. It's a rough situation.
Some fans will abandon the indies at this point, preferring to watch WWE's on demand content. Many fans will forget about their formerly beloved indie promotions, but not all fans. Indie promotions will need to evolve (no pun intended) and begin serving quality content. They will need to stop copying the mass-produced ides from WWE and attempt to do something different. They need to become more local and more organic.
Indie promotions need to become the local coffee shop in comparisons to WWE's Starbucks. Many people only know wrestling as WWE, but if they are able to taste something different and more vibrant, they will come back. Indie promotions need to watch out for their quality though. They cannot be tawdry. They cannot tell poor stories. They need to become the premium brand, not a cheap copy of the WWE.
It will be interesting to see how indie promotions adapt and overcome over the next year as the wrestling business changes. There is to major challenge in front of them, but they can do it. Fans will support something good and different. They just have to be good and different.
Will Pruett writes about wrestling. He likes it. You should too. Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow him and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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