Josh Mathews talks about Global Wrestling Network on weekly GFW media call

BY MIKE MCMAHON, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Josh Mathews took part in a media conference call on Wednesday, discussing the launch of the new Global Wrestling Network. Mathews, who is one half of Impact’s announce team, also doubles as the company’s Senior Director of Digital Media.

Opening Statement …

“Yesterday was a huge day for us as we launched the Global Wrestling Network worldwide. A proud day for everyone who has worked so hard on this project for the last year, year and a half, as we finally got it up and going yesterday. We listened to all the feedback from social media. We talked last night, it was a very long work day for all of us, but we very confident that it will be exactly what we envisioned when everyone got this going back when the deal was started.”

Will Impact be streamed live on the network, or will they air on the network after Impact goes off the air?

“There will be a delay in most territories and countries of roughly 10 days for everyone worldwide. You can pretty much count on that as being the benchmark. Late last night they added almost all of 2017, maybe not last week or the week before, but most of 2017 has been added.”

Are there certain countries that do not have access to the network or is it a true worldwide launch?

“I think there are a few territories that haven’t been turned on yet. But, as it relates to specific places, I’d have to check. But I think as it relates, it’s worldwide but there might be a few territories who haven’t had it turned on yet.”


Are there any ideas for original programming (like WWE Network) outside of just the archive footage?

“You have to remember, when you say original programming, I was there for the launch of the WWE Network and there was going to be a ton of original programming, and that got scaled back pretty quickly. I think that you can learn from their, not that they made a whole lot of mistakes, but you can learn from what they did as it relates to original programming. I have been pushing for original programming on GWN, and I think that you will get some, but it’s a matter of a strategic approach to what those are going to be.”

On the other promotions who will be involved with GWN …

“You have Border City and I think there are some things up there from Smash that’s on there right now. It’s just working with our partners, working with Pro Wrestling NOAH, Triple A, Crash, everyone we’ve talked to as it relates to adding their libraries to the platform. I think every month, or every two months, you’re going to see an influx of new programming. Independent wrestling, classic wrestling, things like that. Those things aren’t owned by the WWE Network. This is truly the alternative wrestling network for things that aren’t on their platform, hopefully will be on our platform.

On the Destination America and Spike years being added and will Ring Ka King be added …

“That’s just a matter of time and a matter of when all of those things get uploaded. Last night 2017 wasn’t uploaded and then it was up a little while later. I think it’s just a matter of feeding the beast and loading all of these things. I’m super excited to see the Destination America stuff, too. When we left Spike a lot of people didn’t get to see what Impact was doing during those years. It’s a good time to sign up and see all of those things that you may have missed.”

Will GWN ever evolve to the point where PPVs will air live …

“Well, that’s an interesting topic. I wish I had more time to talk about my thoughts on pay-per-view vs. just strictly streaming. I think that WWE has gone back and offers some of their PPVs to their cable and satellite providers. I don’t know if we’ll ever go exclusive (to streaming), but I think I can confidently say that Bound for Glory will be available on the app. But I still think that you need to work with your TV partners and not upset them by pulling everything. They have been good partners to us over the years. One Night Only airs every month. I don’t know if you want to take the PPVs away from them. You just work different deals out.”

On the timing of doing this, with FloSlam’s issues …

“I think it was ready to go. If I am being candid, it was just one of those deals where we knew we wanted to do it and our president, Ed Nordholm knew that he wanted to do this service. He needed to talk to the different partners and there is so much that goes into this. You have to work with people who build the app, and then you have to test it and make sure it’s right. This was a process that has been going on for some time. This could have launched back in August, but it wasn’t ready. Now it’s ready, it’s up and going, and the demand is there. We saw that last night on social media. The numbers we got today, everyone is super excited.

“I mentioned the last time I did a round of media, we got knocked down that day by Sports Illustrated, for no reason, and now here we are launching this worldwide app here today.”

Will there be a delay before PPV content (Bound for Glory) is added like with Impact? …

“Good question. It might depend on where you are in the world. Spike in the UK might air the PPV the next day, in Germany it will air live at 2am. I’m pretty open. It should depend on where you are as to when you will get BFG on the app.”

On the price point, how it was decided to be $7.99 …

“I wasn’t in the room when they came up with $7.99, but I think it’s a great price point. I don’t think you can go higher than $9.99. WWE has set the price point for a model like this because they were first to market. Netflix is $11, or something, and Netflix has a retention of like 97 percent per month. They just roll customers over month after month. You have to remember that retention is a big deal. I don’t know what WWE’s retention rate is, but I think $7.99 is a great price point for this, especially if you’re in a territory that doesn’t get Impact now. Even if you are a place that gets Impact, you’ll get original content and all the classic episodes right at your fingertips.”

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