The wrestling world learned yesterday that the WWE Network as we know it will merge into the Peacock streaming service, starting in March. What does all this mean? let’s deep dive into this entire fiasco and see how much of it is positive and how much of it is…not so positive…
First off, what the heck is Peacock? – That is the NBC Universal streaming service, currently touting 26 million subscribers. Pretty much like a Netflix. Or HBO Max. Or Disney+. Or Hulu. Or in a weird way, WWE Network. It is everything (or mostly everything) under the NBCU (Comcast) umbrella and thrown into one big bundle. Yet another streaming service to pay for, I know, I know. Personally, I do not watch any NBC show, nor have I ever seen a single episode of The Office or any other one of their big hits. Yep, never seen The Office and don’t ever plan to start binge watching. In any event, I didn’t care when Peacock launched, but NOW I have to care with WWE Network heading there.
Wait, how did this all happen? – Quite simple. It has been rumored for close to a year now. WWE has such a vast library that they were looking at ways to branch out and ‘license’ it. We saw the different ESPN specials. We saw NXT going on USA Network live every Wednesday (under the NBCU umbrella just like Raw). We also read that talks were ongoing with WWE possibly airing some content on ESPN+. Maybe even WrestleMania or different pay-per-view events. Alas, nothing happened – until now! WWE has a strong relationship with Comcast/NBCU, so it made the most sense. If WWE was looking to get more out of their network, they fit the best.
Soooo is the WWE Network dead then? – Pretty much, yeah. It will be in less than two months. Right before the Fastlane pay-per-view, everything will be shifted over to Peacock. Right now, word is that the entire 17,000 hour library will be moved. I have my doubts on EVERYTHING being moved over, but if that is what they say, that is what they say. We will go with it. All WWE Network apps and crap will cease to exist. In the United States only. I should note that – this is for only the United States. Everything else around the world will remain unchanged. No worries then.
What will happen to my account and financial charge? – Again, we are going on early rumors, but that will likely be moved over to a Peacock account. If you have a WWE Network account now, like most of us probably do, that will simply become a Peacock account. I am sure there will be some extra legwork come March, forms to fill out or whatever, but there shouldn’t be a big hassle. If you have WWE Network, you will just sign into Peacock instead. No more WWE Network.
Hold on, how much per month is this going to cost me? – Here is the best news of all. If you want the ad version for Peacock, it is only $4.99 per month. Yep, everything included on Peacock already PLUS the WWE Network stuff for five bucks. Half of what we are already paying for, just for the WWE Network. Now add in all the NBCU content, plus WWE Network – obviously one heck of a deal for $4.99 per month. If you want the ad free version, which is what I will be doing, it is the same normal $9.99 per month. Some people are really bothered by commercials, so just choose this option then. Same as the ten bucks deal before so no harm. If you can live with commercials and junk, five bucks. Pretty sweet, huh? Pay-per-views included too! No extra fee. Boom baby.
Well, when is that price going to change? – To be fair, fans have been predicting the WWE Network price would increase for the past seven years. Ever since the original $9.99 price was announced, everyone just assumed it would slowly bump up to $14.99 per month and then higher and then higher and…it never did. it stayed at $9.99 for its entire run. Now though? It is out of the WWE’s hands. That decision now lies with the Peacock price points. If they choose to bump up the price in a few months or a year or whenever, beware. Not WWE’s call anymore. Right now, they are saying no price increase is imminent. That is good. Time will tell if that lasts though.
What is WWE getting out of this if things are so amazing? – The reported terms are five years for $1 billion. Yep, another BILLION DOLLARS for Vince McMahon and company. At least for the next five years, Peacock is running the WWE Network stuff. I am sure WWE will have a say and input. Duh! Those two corporations have had a relationship for decades. They will talk and strategize this all together, no doubt. When factoring in the WWE Network by itself, WWE was getting around $130-160 million per year. Now it averages out to $200 million per year with Peacock. Clearly a big win for WWE. Must be that old out of touch Vince McMahon, am I right? Billion dollars from USA Network, billion dollars from FOX, and now a billion dollars with Peacock.
I thought the WWE/NBCU relationship was bad because of NXT? – Complete garbage. The usual clowns who always think WWE are in trouble will look for any little hole and jump in. NBCU is now more invested than ever in making WWE successful. Or more successful I should say. Part of the deal is a big push for WrestleMania being on the Peacock streaming service. WWE Network has roughly 1.5 million subscribers. Now Mania will be on Peacock, with over 26 million subscribers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that is a huge uptick in potential business. NBC and elsewhere will be airing commercials for WrestleMania 37 a lot over the next few months. Bottom line: WWE is more than fine with NBCU. Don’t listen to any negative pundits who are still trying to push this narrative that Vince McMahon doesn’t know what they’re doing and will sell the company for peanuts. Same dopes predicting that are the same dopes that have been predicting that…and will probably continue to predict that. It’s stupid. Just another “L” for them.
Okay, so what is going on the Smackdown/FOX deal then if all things WWE are under the NBCU umbrella? – We shall see. Right now, the Smackdown/FOX deal will continue as is. Almost every other program WWE airs is linked to NBCU in some way. WWE Raw, NXT, Total Bellas, etc. All that junk. Don’t be surprised if NXT or anything else is soon added to Peacock. As I mentioned, WWE has three separate billion dollar television/streaming deals for the next couple of years. If FOX doesn’t want Smackdown at the end of their deal, guess what? NBCU will likely be right there waiting. Or vice versa. More money, more money. It isn’t going to stop folks.
SUMMARY – Long story short, I don’t care for Peacock. I don’t watch anything NBC nor do I have any old re-runs to go and watch. However, with WWE Network shifting over in March, I will obviously be signing up. Or letting my account drag over, whatever is decided on that issue. With Fastlane being three days after the “launch,” that gives them an opportunity to work out any issues before April’s WrestleMania 37 event. I like it. WWE gets another billion dollars and gets to grow their network even more as numbers had stalled out at 1-2 million for the last couple of years. Going from that monthly battle to 26 million subscribers on Peacock is a big time move. How it all shakes out is to be determined. Until then, let’s enjoy the original WWE Network.
First day subscriber…leave the memories alone…
By Justin Watry (TWITTER: @JustinWatry)