UPDATE 2: More details are emerging about the big news that WWE Network will be integrated into Peacock as its exclusive home. Variety reports that Peacock will in fact have all PPV live events including WrestleMania and SummerSlam available to subscribers for no additional charge. Traditional PPV purchases will be still available to non-Peacock subscribers via their cable networks.
The report also confirms once more that the Network will will be available for $4.99 per month with ads, and #9.99 without ads. Variety reports that the Network’s subscriber base will be migrated over to Peacock Premium. As reported, “additional details” promised will made available in the next few weeks, which Variety notes is specifically regarding how subscribers will be migrated over, whether they will be automatically subscribed to Peacock, and such. WWE Fastlane will be the first PPV available on Peacock. Nothing will change for subscribers to the Network outside of the US.
UPDATE: According to the Wall Street Journal, WWE’s deal to have Peacock on the Network is a big one financially as well as in terms of impact. The outlet reports that a person familiar with the deal is a five-year one and is valued at over $1 billion.
The report confirms that the WWE Network will officially shut down as an independent streaming service, and Peacock will license WWE’s programming, including WrestleMania and PPVs. Peacock has a current estimated subscriber base of 26 million. By comparison, WWE reported in Q3 of 2020 that the Network averaged 1.6 million monthly paid subscribers.
ORIGINAL: In a major deal, WWE has signed a multi-year agreement that brings the service to the Peacock streaming service in the US. Peacock and WWE announced on Monday that they have signed an agreement that gives the NBCUniversal service exclusive streaming rights in the United States. The Network will launch on Peacock on March 18th.
The news comes just days after it was reported that NBC was shuttering the NBC Sports Network by the end of 2021 and moving live sports telecasts to USA Network and, to a lesser extent, Peacock. It was speculated at the time whether WWE would be affected by live sports broadcasts moving to USA Network. While nothing about that is mentioned in the announcement, the deal to break the Network to Peacock could potentially give WWE and NBCUniversal several options in terms of how to deal with the crunch of available timeslots.
As one of the last major streaming services to launch (to date), Peacock has lagged behind most of its competitors such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and CBS All-Access (which is itself rebranding to Paramount+). This deal gives Peacock a lot more value in the US, becoming the defacto home for all programming currently and for the foreseeable future on the WWE Network. It also is indicative of the flux that has been going on in streaming services as they come into their own as entertainment hubs.
As the streaming service of NBCUniversal, WWE’s broadcast partner, Peacock has been airing limited numbers of WWE Network shows for the last few months such as Monday Night Wars. Details on the new agreement aren’t yet clear from the announcement, but it appears as if the Network will become officially part of Peacock. The service runs $4.99 currently for a premium service with ads, and $9.99 for a no-ad premuim service. Peacock is available on most devices including Roku, Apple devices, Google platforms and devices such as Android and Chromecast, Xbox, Playstation, VIZIO SmartCast TVs, and LG Smart TVs. Eligible Xfinity X1 and Plex customers, as well as Cox Contour customers, have Peacock at no additional cost. The announcement notes that “WWE Network, including all PPVs, will be available on Peacock Premium for $4.99—a $5.00/month savings—where members will enjoy access to the entire WWE and Peacock catalog, more than 47,000 hours of premium programming. For an ad-free experience, Peacock Premium Plus will be available for $9.99.”
The announcement also notes that WWE and Peacock “will share details on managing customer accounts closer to the Peacock launch in March.”
“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, Peacock. “WWE Network is a transformative addition to the platform and complements Peacock’s massive catalog of iconic movies and shows, as well as the best live news and sports, from NBCUniversal and beyond.”
“We are thrilled to further the long-standing and trusted partnership WWE has with NBCUniversal,” said Nick Khan, WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer. “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.”
The announcement adds in terms of offerings:
“Peacock will launch WWE Network on March 18, beginning the roll-out of more than 17,000 hours of new, original, and library WWE Network programming on demand and on a 24/7 channel, including:
* All live pay-per-view events including WrestleMania and SummerSlam; Fastlane will be the first WWE pay-per-view to stream on Peacock on Sunday, March 21.
* Original series like Steve Austin Broken Skull Sessions, Undertaker: The Last Ride and the all-new WWE Icons;
* In-ring shows like NXT, NXT UK and WWE 205 Live, as well as replays of Raw and SmackDown;
* WWE Network archives, including every WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-view event in history;
* Groundbreaking documentaries, including WWE 24, WWE Untold, and WWE 365;
* And, starting in 2022, one signature documentary annually.”