The indy announced its new streaming service last week, offering subscribers, for $9.99 a month, access to video on demand archives, interviews, compilations and pre-sale access to tickets to ROH events.
What you don’t get: Ring of Honor pay-per-views. Still have to pay half the cost for those, unless you’re willing to pony up $119.99 for an annual subscription.
Which you don’t have to do if you’re a subscriber to the WWE Network or NJPW World. You get the big events there for your monthly subscription, along with video on demand, interviews and compilations.
You can bet that there’s going to be a trickle, at best, of ROH fans going the $119.99 route to save on monthly pay-per-views, and then, what about the casual fan who has maybe only heard of Ring of Honor, maybe gets to see some of the stars on NJPW, wants to sign on to see the big shows, and then has to make a choice?
Do you give up $119.99 in one shot for the privilege of seeing shows from a company that you’re only tangentially aware of? Which gets us to the next question: do you pay the $9.99 a month for a product that you’re not familiar with to get less than what you get from WWE and New Japan?
Short answer: no.
WWE set the market with its 2014 rollout of the WWE Network, though you could say that Netflix set the market before that, or even go way back to the launch of HBO back in the 1970s.
You pay a set amount, and you get run of what the service has to offer. Simple. You’re a wrestling fan, you get WrestleMania, Summer Slam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, all the big shows in between, NXT, the compilations, the extra stuff, for $9.99 a month.
New Japan wisely adopted the model, and added a neat feature, making its database searchable by name, though the older matches don’t always offer English-language commentary.
Ring of Honor seems to have been guided by somebody with an accounting background saying something along the lines of, but, see, if you get people to pay the monthly fees and also pay for the pay-per-views, boom, bottom line, that or giving you $119.99 right up front, who cares, either way, count the dollars.
Sorry, but it won’t work that way. ROH will find this out soon enough.