Nearly 90% of content in F4Wonline daily news updates is devoted to promotional plugs a new study finds
In a shocking new report tracking the ratio of actual wrestling news versus promotional plugs for upcoming, current, or back issues of their wrestling newsletters on the site—F4Wonline in the past week has offered nearly 90% plugs, while their daily news update output has fallen to an industry low 13%.
This is a startling indicator that would seem to indicate the high-profile wrestling news outlet is struggling to keep pace with other daily wrestling news providers on the web, where daily news output remains robust, and regular—offering several articles per day posted per site.
F4Wonline, meanwhile, continues to be the site that most promotes the weekly digest version of their news output, above and beyond the actual daily news their subscribers can read each day.
News output for F4Wonline has fallen by 34% week-over-week, while the disparity between the reported news and plugs has grown by 13%, leading some to wonder how committed the site is to delivering news to readers of the site versus simply turning the site into a medium through which to sell their weekly wrestling news digests to potential new customers—or hawking back issues of best selling stories from the past to current subscribers, already paying a premium price for access to the newsletters and audio podcasts.
While most premium sites online have robust archives of past newsletters, the Wrestling Observer stands alone as the lone newsletter that has taken a far more measured approach, parsing out back issues of the newsletters, while at the same time selling printed back issues from different periods of time for an inflated price.
It has become increasingly obvious to some readers that the business model at F4Wonline is not to corner the market on wrestling enthusiasts who are interested in a mix of current events news coverage, combined with solid perspective from past eras of the industry.
The Observer, by far, has some of the most thorough analysis of past events in wrestling, having done amazing coverage of every big news story since the Vince McMahon Steroid trial in the 90s.
Dave Meltzer has written countless features on events from the past from a contemporary view, looking back with impressive perspective on the industry. There is little doubt that these two things combined could offer unprecedented selling points to prospective new customers were they to be available upon subscription.
Ironically, the trickling out of past back issues, and strategically staying away from some of the larger, more noteworthy topics, directly contradicts some of the rhetoric F4Wonline employs toward the lack of output the WWE Network makes available for its fans.
Bryan Alvarez has often heard on his podcasts going on screeds chastising WWE for not offering more classic footage of from the deep library of footage from territories like Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic (JCP), AWA, and more.
As frustrating as it is for viewers of the WWE Network that some of the classic, memorable footage from these hotbeds of 80s wrestling action remain unavailable to subscribers, it is just as frustrating to subscribers to F4Wonline that the slow, meticulous dribbles of old Observer newsletters does not allow subscribers to take advantage of the rich history available to them.
It comes across as a (lucrative) stunt by the site, focused on bilking subscribers out of hundreds of dollars, annually, to read some of the classic features and stories from Observers of old.
It shows a remarkable lack of trust in its membership that the biggest fear is, if the faucet is turned on, members will quickly download all the old Observers and abandon ship. Which speaks volumes about the site’s confidence in its own digital audio shows, and currently material.
And with little wonder… with a weak output of quality weekly news, particularly in the daily news updates, and increasingly in the newsletters as well… one of the few remaining selling points the site seems completely confident in are the Observer back issues.
Indeed, that is where the greatest emphasis would seem to be on the site, with daily promotional content far surpassing that of actual, noteworthy news most days it is clear, to some, that perhaps the best days of hard-hitting news coverage have passed the site by. Many subscribers to the site have even gone so far as to take to the F4WOnline BOARD~! to decry the lack of breaking news coverage on the site. And, in many cases, have pointed out that more news tends to break on the actual discussion forum than on the front page of the site itself.
Sheet Sandwich will continue to track the alarming trend toward promotional content vs. news in the coming weeks.