From the last few weeks’ worth of columns, you know that we do our best at TBLWrestling.com to give credence to our history. From my end, it was two years ago this week when I wrote a column about the RAW before ECW’s first One Night Stand PPV. If you’re so inclined, feel free to click over and take a read!
Those of us who work in the “real world” hear a lot of buzz words in our various professions. As a loan officer at a nonprofit statewide loan fund, there are a few words and phrases that I hear repeated over and over again. In my profession, words like “leverage” and “socially responsible investing” are the common buzzwords of the day. But a new buzzword is on the horizon for both my industry and especially every profit-based profession out there.
That word is “monetize.” This word has different meanings in the business world than it might have in other areas. For example, when the Founders of the United States of America wanted to monetize the dollar bill, they made the dollar bill worth something – thus converting it into the legal currency of the nation. In the business world, we often talk about monetizing relationships and monetizing assets. For those of us who have an online presence via our wrestling websites, we try to monetize our websites so that they bring in revenue.
World Wrestling Entertainment recently began to monetize their assets in many different ways. Some of you may remember the news stories from the last few years where the wrestlers of yesteryear signed “WWE Legends” contracts. This allowed WWE to create merchandise for these wrestlers while giving them a small kickback. This is one form of monetizing an asset, though the asset being monetized is the nostalgia that some of these wrestlers bring with their presence.
Monetizing nostalgia is a hard thing to do, but something that obviously has a concrete dollar value to WWE. Don’t think so? Just look at the wild success of the Ultimate Ric Flair DVD set, the Bret Hard DVD set, the Dusty Rhodes DVD set, and the Ultimate Hulk Hogan DVD set. Creating these anthologies monetizes both the nostalgia of these wrestlers as well as the film libraries that detail their history. And it is these film libraries where WWE has the most potential to monetize their assets.
Now, I want to repeat that WWE has done an admirable job in creating DVDs that make revenue out of old film libraries. However, I think there are more – bigger – ways that WWE can put their vast library to use as a profit-maker.
The very first thing I would do is start cranking out more DVD anthologies and box sets. Jim Ross recently said this on his blog:
“I endorse the box sets of complete seasons of TV programming, but I am not sure I am in the majority. For instance, I would love to see the complete ‘season’ of Raw, let’s say from 1999, etc. Same goes for the Clash of Champions series from the TBS days. I do know the WWE is thoroughly evaluating and strategizing on the countless ways to use their library, which seems to grow on a regular basis.”
Hey folks, Jim Ross didn’t become the voice of sports entertainment by not knowing what the fans wanted. I think he makes a great point when he talks about creating and marketing a “season” of WWE RAW on DVD. But it doesn’t end there. Why not a season of WCW NITRO? I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing a complete “season” of WCW NITRO that included all of the boring, in-between matches from guys like Blitzkreig and Johnny B. Badd. Why not go with Jim Ross’ suggestion of a “Clash of the Champions” box set?
WWE also owns the entire PPV library from WCW so why not give Starrcade the respect that it deserves as the “big show” for WCW and give it an anthology set? I know that Vince and family have a hard-on for making it seem like nothing in the world beats WWE and that WWE is the only thing worth watching on pay-per-view, but wouldn’t it be great to see a WCW box set of Fall Brawl/War Games? Or for the younger WCW fans – what about a World War 3 box set?
And there is always the vast ECW library to draw from. Some of the absolute best memories that ECW fans have is of their show airing late night on MSG television. A “season” of those shows would undoubtedly reignite the fire in the ECW fan base.
Again, WWE has done a moderately good job of monetizing their AWA and WCCW assets and – to a lesser degree – their WCW and ECW assets so far. However, if they really want to start making some money on all of these film libraries that they own, they need to start pumping out more box sets that include full “seasons” of shows as well as the big events from some of the other promotions.
This is a time when I wish I was a major WWE stockholder so I could send in some comments regarding the above!