If we’re honest the cancellation of ROH’s internet pay-per-views has been a long time coming. The company’s online output has been plagued by technical issues for several years, first with partner provider Go Fight Live and then in-house. Basically ever since dropping the pre-taped format with Take No Prisoners in 2009.
Ring of Honor has been rightly criticised by fans for not being quick enough to address issues and taking an infuriatingly blasé approach to issuing apologies. That problems have not been fixed quickly enough and have occurred numerous times has been unacceptable. It’s eroded a lot of good will and I’m sure it must have driven viewers away. It certainly won’t have attracted new ones.
Instead of streaming shows live ROH intends to record them and upload them the following day. It’s something they’ve been doing with the majority of their smaller shows anyway.
Preference of VOD content is a positive move for more than just the avoidance of technical issues. Live streaming dictated when people were to watch events. With the viewing options regarding television (which internet streaming essentially is) having become incredibly broad over the last few years watching an event live is something people are gradually moving away from. DVR and catch-up TV services, along with sites like Netflix, provide a huge amount of choice. Going live is no longer the be-all and end-all.
I think this offers ROH a great opportunity to alter the way they pace their storylines and put together events. No longer beholden to the iPPV schedule they can disperse larger matches across some of their smaller shows. There will be less need to ensure plots peak every two months at an iPPV. Four or so big shows a year, such as the Anniversary Show and Final Battle, is a better schedule for a company of ROH’s size.
Besides, all events all going to be uploaded as VOD anyway, so why not encourage fans to watch more? Just as importantly this would create a better live experience for those attending smaller shows.
Delaying making events available for public consumption by a day or two is a small price to pay for a flawless product. It will, I hope, allow Ring of Honor to regain the faith of fans. After the battering the promotion’s reputation has taken over the last couple of years restoring faith should be a top priority.