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WWE Network gets UK, Ireland launch

WWEWrestling entertainment company the WWE is launching its direct-to-consumer channel, WWE Network, in the UK and Ireland this month.

The OTT channel has launched around the world in more than 170 territories since going live in the US last year, but had significantly not debuted in the UK despite the large sports entertainment audience in Britain.

The initial plan was to launch the channel in the UK in October, but this did not come to fruition, and the channel was indefinitely delayed just 20 minutes before another scheduled launch a month later.

This will change on Monday, January 19, when the US English-language version launches to UK consumers for £9.99 (US$15.26) per month. In Ireland, WWE Network will be available at a monthly rate of €12.99 (US$15.52).

This comes ahead of the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view event on January 25.

WWE Network includes access to all 12 major PPV telecasts, a scheduled 24/7 programming schedule including original programmes, and an on-demand library of more than 2,700 hours.

“I want to thank our fans in the UK and Ireland for their patience, and I’m confident it will be well worth the wait,” said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO.

Consumers sign up to the channel via WWE.com, and can then watch programming on multiple devices such as smart TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and video game consoles.

WWE Network had initially struggled to gain traction, but subscriptions have improved recently, with the WWE claiming it had attracted 971,000 unique subscribers from launch to September 30, 2014, though the overall number was 731,000 at the end of Q3 last year.

The WWE previously forecasted the channel would lose money until hitting one million subs, but expected “meaningful returns in 2015”.

It has also introduced the monthly price plan akin to Netflix or Amazon Instant Prime Video after initially requiring an initial six-month commitment.