In a press release on Thursday January 10, 2013, Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling announced a major pay-per-view shake-up in its business model for live paid television events going forward in 2013. The company will cut back from 12 live pay-per view events and go with the old school four Sunday Night live pay-per view events – Genesis on January 13, LockDown on March 10, Slammiversary on June 9 and its own version of WrestleMania, Bound for Glory on October 13. TNA also stated they will still keep offering their one hour ‘Unfinished Business’ shows through Video on Demand.
I applaud TNA for making the first move in what should have been done a few years ago not only by the company, but World Wrestling Entertainment as well. The industry has been saturated with monthly pay-per view events for a long time which mainly have consisted of throw-away shows that are a waste of time and money.
TNA’s pay-per view buys have never been a high number, (I’ve seen various websites report between 7,800 and 10,000). But with the down turn in the economy that had started at the end of 2008, the poor numbers have told the story. In past columns, both my own and many other writers, the subject of over saturation of pay-per view events was a hot subject, especially after WWE would release their buyrate information that event most recently indicated most of their pay- per view event numbers still reflect a downward buying trend.
In the old school or traditional days of pro wrestling, I remember each company (WWE and NWA/WCW) holding four major events a year. Feuds were meaningful and exciting with intense build up. I actually ordered pay-per views back then. Then came the 12 event pay-per view structure which began back in the mid 1990’s during the WWE and World Championship Wrestling Monday Night War.
Each time WCW would increase their pay-per view events, WWE would do the same, until WCW finally hit 12, WWE followed suit as well, in what would be not only a weekly competition for ratings, but a monthly fight for pay-per view revenue.
I can’t remember when I last ordered a pay-per view event, not only because I’m frugal with my money, but nothing has interested me, not even any of the big four events from WWE. I won’t pay big money for one or two matches that may interest me that may end up with some lame finish so the feud can be continued at the next pay-per view event.
Now with TNA going back to the traditional days, they have a huge opportunity to focus more time on building meaningful feuds without feeling rushed or trying something desperate to get buys for an event a month later that not many fans care about.
There are various sites reporting that TNA’s pricing for the live events will roughly stay the same with Genesis and LockDown at $34.95, Slammiversary at $39.95, Bound for Glory selling for $44.95 and the non-live events called TNA priced at a mere $14.95.
Will WWE follow? Probably not, but time will tell.
By Jerome Wilen (www.prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com)
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