Despite some growing pains off the jump, WWE President Nick Khan emphasized the Peacock deal has made sense for WWE since it was inked.
WWE migrated its streaming service library to Peacock in January 2021, and both parties have reaped rewards.
“In 2014 when Vince and company launched the network, WWE only had to be the third-best to be the third-best in the world after Netflix and Hulu,” Khan told The Town. “As we went into 2021, it was a cluttered marketplace. One of the early conversations Vince and I had in my new role was, ‘Hey, we’re not a tech company.’
“For a company with a four billion or so market cap to be competing technologically against the Comcasts of the world, the Disneys of the world, etc, companies with 250 plus billion market caps, that would not prove financially possible over time.”
Khan continued, noting they approached streaming partners the same way they approached network television partners.
“We both said in the room together that we should focus on what we do best in the world, which is producing content: sports entertainment content and the off-shoots of it,” Khan said. “Let’s license it out just like we license RAW and SmackDown out. That’s how we came to the deal with Peacock.”
Even including Peacock’s subscribers that only utilize the free option, the NBC streaming service is nowhere close to the industry’s podium. Peacock’s 54 million total subscribers is half of Disney+’s 118 million subscribers, and extremely distant from Amazon Prime Video’s 175 million and Netflix’s 213 million paying customers (data as of November 2021).
Regardless of the bigger options, Nick Khan noted that the “home team” mentality of NBC made WWE want to stick with their long-time business partner.
“NBC was a long-time partner of WWE. It goes back 30 years. Monday Night RAW was launched on USA. Even though there was a break 15-20 years ago when WWE went to [SpikeTV], it ultimately went back to USA,” Khan said. “To me, and to Vince and business, when an incumbent wants something that you have, you got to give them every opportunity for it.
“There should be a home team, home town discount. That’s just the way we look at it. When Peacock came so aggressively, even though there were other suitors for [the WWE Network], they wanted it. The numbers made sense. We wanted to give them the chance they had given us as a company.”
Even though both sides are enjoying the partnership’s success, the WWE Network on Peacock is far from permanent.
“That was a five-year deal when we closed it about a year or so ago,” Khan said. “Presumably like most incumbents, they’ll approach us early and make a proposition. We have a great relationship with those folks.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Town with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Have a news tip or correction? Send it to [email protected]