Rolling Stones and WWE Team Up For Pay-Per-View Stream of Concert

What do the Rolling Stones and professional wrestling have in common? If I were a funnier fellow I’d probably have a good joke here about old body slams or something – but I’m just going to go with the obvious answer: “nothing.”

Except I’d be wrong if I said that, because as it turns out the Stones have teamed up with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and Yahoo to present a live pay-per-view stream of an upcoming Newark, N.J. concert. The concert is the last show of a mini-tour the band embarked on late this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The concert will be held December 15 at the Prudential Center, and the Stones will welcome a slew of big name guest stars including Bruce Springsteen, the Black Keys and Lady Gaga (who knew?). Also, former Rolling Stones Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor also are expected to appear at the show.

Even with the impressive lineup, live pay-per-view concerts are certainly nothing new – regardless of the involvement of a professional wrestling organization – but the reason I’m writing about it today is because of wide number of streaming formats available.

For instance, in addition to traditional television purchases through cable and satellite providers, fans also can choose to stream the concert online. No matter which way is chosen to watch, the cost of the event will be around $40, and online concert viewers will be treated to interviews with the band, footage from previous concerts and other special features.

Those who purchase an online stream will be able to watch the show on tablets and smart phones, and will have the ability to pause and rewind the performance. Additionally, these customers can watch the material for an unlimited number of times for 30 days. WWE is in charge of distribution of the special.

“We are pleased to partner with Yahoo, a global leader in digital media, to bring the Rolling Stones pay-per-view online to millions across the world,” said WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon in a statement.

“The Rolling Stones’ music has crossed generations and the world and Yahoo is excited to bring this very special music event to our global audience,” said Erin McPherson, vice president and head of Yahoo’s video and originals. “The Rolling Stones are living legends, and we are honored that the band and WWE chose us to be a part of their 50th anniversary.”

I find all of this particularly interesting because of the rise in the number of online pay-per-view concerts and specials, specifically in the past year or so. Louis C.K. seemed to get the ball rolling on paid online streams for comedians, as other comics including Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan soon followed suit. Those guys used the online route to avoid television specials (and DVD releases) altogether. But the Rolling Stones are classic in many senses of the word; and like many well-established artists, still must also do the traditional television pay-per-view route. I just wonder if it won’t be long until online streams become the mainstream.