WWE launches free version of WWE Network

World Wrestling Entertainment has launched a free version of its WWE Network over-the-top streaming service, which will give viewers access to a large portion of the rights-holder’s archive.

The inventory includes recent episodes of WWE’s flagship Raw, SmackDown and NXT programmes and select historical WWE pay-per-views and NXT TakeOver events.

The free version will also show weekly WWE highlights, a Raw-themed talk show and WWE-related original series, amongst other content.

Jayar Donlan, WWE executive vice-president, Advanced Media said: “The launch of WWE Network’s Free Version is a key component of our company’s digitisation strategy and a new way for all fans to be able to experience premium WWE content. The Free Version will serve as an effective way to reach a broader group of consumers.”

WWE Network operates as a 24-hour linear streaming channel and is a portal to on-demand WWE archive programming. It launched internationally in 2014.

The launch of the free offer may be a response to recent declines in WWE Network’s global subscription numbers, although the rights-holder had managed to stem the fall by the first quarter of this year. In March, WWE announced it would be offering free access for a month to WWE Network.