WWE: Present and Future Need More of a Past Perfect
Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
WWE broadcasts are the best current prime (and prime time, but not Players) example.
On cable network television, today’s fans have three-plus hours live on Monday night, one hour on Wednesday night, two hours on Friday night, and one half hour on Saturday morning. Is all of that strictly WWE show (no pun intended) or WWE blow?
More television time equals more commercials. A necessary evil, but only to a point. Is there really anyone who wants more commercials and less substance?
Much content of the commercials is WWE merchandise, WWE shows, WWE-financed movies and anything that can be relative to any segment of the WWE. There is advertising and then there is marketing strategy. Too much advertising overshadows the marketing, with counterproductive results.
The dreaded phraseology of “when WWE action returns” means the fans are missing something and it’s getting to a point where it’s a pretty big something. Competitors’ introductions are a key factor in match hype, and they’re becoming a lost art due to the deference to commercials. Defining moves in matches are being lost to the same obsequiousness. Exclusive nonstop action is available to fans with smartphone app capabilities in the form of the WWE app; however, not all fans have access to the app. Another potential fail in the marketing strategy?
When action does return, what’s left of the matches morphs into what is not so fondly known as “Raw redux.” Action from earlier in the evening is shown on Raw, or long-form highlights from previous telecasts are touted (pardon the pun). A sad waste of the limited time that’s actually available “when WWE action returns.”
The WWE is a money-making machine, no doubt. In the long run, will the benefits of the attempts to cash-in outweigh the audience who tune out and take their spending money elsewhere? The overkill is mutating into the buzzkill.
Or is it?
While the WWE isn’t a bona fide monopoly in the world of wrestling, it’s undoubtedly close. Thus the creative license to maneuver within the squared circle and the corporate office shall continue.
The entertainment value is there. The storylines are there. The smooth marketing, promotion and flow of said storylines … not so much. Why? Because viewers don’t get to see them.
There are reasons WWE DVD sales are through the roof. With a classic DVD, the fans can watch anytime and remember when their superstars had full introductions, uncut matches and few commercials. For the newer generations, a classic DVD provides a glimpse of the way things used to be…and leaves them wanting more of the past in the future.