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Why did the WWE Network move to Peacock?

Roman Reigns after retaining his WWE Universal Championship.
Roman Reigns after retaining his WWE Universal Championship.
Akash Roy
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 05 Apr 2021
Feature

The WWE Network ended its independent service in the United States on April 4, 2021. From now on, all WWE Network content will be distributed by NBCUniversal's digital streaming service, Peacock, in the US.

The primary reason for the move was simply a financial one. WWE Network's original framework was designed by BAMTech, which is now a Disney company. While effective at first, it became increasingly expensive for WWE to maintain.

So WWE chose to seek out a partnership for the platform, ultimately gaining extra technical and maintenance support from Peacock. As a result, US users of the WWE Network app will now have to migrate to Peacock's streaming services app.

How much does WWE Network on Peacock cost?

Peacock Premium costs $4.99/month and alternatively, the ad-free Peacock Premium+ costs $9.99/month – the same price as the original WWE Network subscription. It's a win-win situation for subscribers, who have the chance to save some money as well as increase their viewing habits through Peacock's other available content.

The secondary reason is generating profitable revenue annually with minimal investments. WWE is a brand that is centered mainly around live events. Since the global pandemic, those live events have been non-existent.

The multi-year deal with NBCUniversal, with a reported guaranteed $200 million a year, was a no brainer for WWE. For Peacock, it's all about exposure to their brand and a structured way to achieve a subscriber boom for their platform.

What does this mean for WWE Network subscribers outside the US?

The changes that have come about as a result of the WWE Peacock deal are only in effect for fans living in the USA. The rest of the world can continue with their WWE Network subscription as normal.

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“We are thrilled to further the long-standing and trusted partnership WWE has with NBCUniversal. Peacock is an innovative platform that will enable us to showcase our most significant events, including WrestleMania, and provide the extraordinary entertainment our fans have come to expect with the combination of premium WWE content, live sports, news, films, and television programs.”- Nick Khan, WWE President H/T prnewswire.

The deal between WWE and NBCUniversal

The Wall Street Journal reported the WWE/Peacock contract to be somewhere in the value of more than a billion dollars over five years. A total of around 1.5 million subscribers are expected to move over to Peacock's platforms.

Peacock has promised that plenty of new, original WWE content along with the existing library of WWE Network programs will be available on-demand, as well as on a 24/7 channel. On top of this, NBCUniversal has promised one special documentary per year, starting in 2022.

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WWE's Chairman Vince McMahon dropped a few comments revealing WWE was in talks to sell their US-based pay-per-view rights to another streaming network last year, before the move was eventually confirmed.

“NBCUniversal has a long-standing relationship with WWE that began nearly 30 years ago with Monday Night Raw on USA. WWE has always tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with spectacular live events and larger-than-life characters, and we are thrilled to be the exclusive home for WWE Network and its millions of fans across the country,” said Rick Cordella, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for Peacock.

All live WWE pay-per-view events will be streamed on Peacock's platforms, with WrestleMania 37 being their next big streaming event after Fastlane last month.

All of WWE's original content, such as Steve Austin's Broken Skull Sessions, are available, along with regular weekly shows like RAW, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK and 205 live. Similarly, the entire WWE Network archive, with old WWE, WCW, ECW events and documentaries will be available on Peacock.

Published 05 Apr 2021, 20:56 IST
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