WWE fans were frustrated when the company decided to transfer their streaming library and pay-per-views from the WWE Network to Peacock in the United States. There have been complaints since the migration that content is missing, pay-per-views have more ads than ever before, and sometimes the streams are of low quality. The service was better, in the opinions of many, when it was focused solely on WWE by people who know WWE.
Fans from other countries would gleefully mock American WWE fans who had to settle for the Peacock service while they remained able to use the traditional, WWE-run service. Many American fans even used a VPN to access the international version of the service. Now, according to WWE President Nick Khan on yesterday’s investor’s call, the company is considering doing the same thing in other territories. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported on Khan’s comments.
“Khan also talked about selling the WWE Network content to local providers like in the U.S. with Peacock, noting talking to BT Sports in the U.K. He said the talks had slowed down during the pandemic regarding these deals but now that they can travel more freely the talks are getting more serious.”
WWE’s revenue in the third quarter relating to the WWE Network, Peacock, and traditional pay-per-view showed a drop from last year of nearly $4 million. The company may be hoping to bolster that with big money rights deals for the content. A deal with BT Sport would likely produce major revenue up front for WWE while allowing them to trim the costs of running the back end for WWE Network in U.K.
With the company’s international focus seemingly turning from providing a streaming service to providing content to a streaming service, it will be interesting to see what kind of deals they can broker. Whether fans like it or not, the Peacock deal was a no-risk proposition for WWE in the United States due to the hefty rights fees. If they can cut such a deal, they will do so in almost any nation or territory.
At the end of the day, WWE is a publicly traded company. They have a fiduciary obligation to their stockholders to generate profit. If that means selling out their quality of services for money, and the company can justify that doing so will be profitable, they are legally obligated to do so. It’s the same reason for the massive talent cuts we’ve been seeing recently.
Would you be upset as an international WWE fan to lose the Network? Let us know in the comments!