by Bilal V - June 19, 2013
So after one use, I went back to recording Raw and Smackdown on my DVR (PVR for my fellow Canadian’s) and skipping commercials. Until I noticed the App videos were on demand for Smackdown (since its not really live). So I started watching them on the commercials and saw some great stuff. At first the idea of seeing the parts of a match that took place during the commercial break seemed silly. Do I really want to watch two minutes of a headlock, that was not good enough for TV? However, to WWE’s credit I am yet to see that happen. In fact I have noticed they have largely written off these convenient commercial breaks of the past. Instead I am now seeing the action continue at a regular pace. This week I even noticed the addition of replays of what was just on TV to ease the transition to the App.
But that is not the only kind of video we are getting. During Raw I was also impressed with seeing the end of the CM Punk vs Alberto Del Rio WWE title match at Survivor Series 2011 on the App. This was an excellent lead into their match this past Monday. Not to mention at the time the original match happened I could not of predicted CM Punk would go on to the longest WWE title reign of the last 25 years. So to see even a short part of it in retrospect was awesome. To WWE’s credit they threw in highlights from the Payback Pay Per View the night before Raw as well during a commercial break. Just as impressive was a flashback ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship between RVD and Jeff Hardy from Grand Rapids, Michigan (where Raw was taking place). Someone at WWE said “Hey RVD is coming back at Money in the Bank, we have a new IC Champion and we are in Grand Rapids tonight. How great would it be to dig up a video related to all 3?” This is a sheer stroke of brilliance that is often lacking from the simplistic games and unimportant social media updates that flood my phone and tablet.
Moreover WWE has prioritized putting interesting interviews on their App. This weeks Raw saw The Uso’s finally make a clear challenge to The Shield for the Tag Team Championships. Something some hardcore fans like me have wanted for a long time. Even the online voting for a stipulation for the Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan match was engaging. So much so I found myself voting BEFORE it was announced on TV that they had opened the polls. Here in lies the secret to enjoy the App: always keep it open. That and use a tablet if possible, as the extra screen real estate makes the entire process better. I realize the notion of fully charging a device before WWE programming and leaving it running on the App the entire time may seem overzealous, but I have found that has enhanced the most enjoying 3 hours of TV of the week during Raw.
There are problems with the App of course. The video often re-buffers in a clumsy fashion, causing me to miss the intros from Josh Matthews to his interviews (although that is not a big loss). There could still be more video content throughout every break, rather than just most breaks. While I enjoy reading Tweets related to Raw or Smackdown, they are not filtered enough to remove spam and there is not a way to Tweet within the App, let alone have your own Tweets or people you follow highlighted. WWE does an excellent job with its Facebook page and needs to somehow integrate that into their application. I also had issues answering some of the App quiz questions. However, there is nothing else like the WWE App on the marketplace. As someone who has paid for NBA League Pass online this year, and had to sit through commercials despite paying top dollar to see out of market games, the reality that WWE is giving you almost an entire wrap around product with the application free for five hours a week is impressive.
I can only hope all major sports leagues adapt the WWE’s model, as well as TNA and UFC. The question of if more traditional TV shows could do so is hard to answer, but some should try. If you are a WWE fan with a smartphone or tablet and have not downloaded the WWE App, trust me its well worth it!
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