None can doubt at how big a brand World Wrestling Entertainment has become. From its beginnings as merely one of many professional wrestling promotions across the US, the WWE would grow beyond the spectacle to emerge as a multimedia franchise, with licensed toys and eventually videogames to help make the company and its top-class talent widely known. Since 2014 it has also operated its own digital television and streaming service, the aptly-named WWE Network. But while launched stateside, this platform will soon become part of a larger umbrella, as NBCUniversal adds WWE content to its own exclusive streaming service, Peacock.
According to Variety, the WWE and NBCUniversal have signed a multiyear contract making the latter’s Peacock streaming platform the US-exclusive online distributor for the WWE Network. In a statement given Monday, January 25, World Wrestling Entertainment announced that their service will now be folded into Peacock effective March 18 of this year. From that point on, current and future WWE Network content will be made available within Peacock’s Premium and ad-free Premium Plus subscription, with no additional charges to their subscribers. This will include the existing 1.1 million stateside subscribers of the WWE Network, which will be folded with Peacock’s.
As with its current platform, when Peacock launches WWE Network within its Premium and Premium Plus services, related content will be available in both a 24-hour channel as well as an on-demand library that boasts over 17,000 hours of past and present WWE programming, from weekly shows like “Raw” and “SmackDown” to annual events like “Survivor Series” and “WrestleMania.” In fact, the March launch will be ahead of WrestleMania 37 which will be the first to be streamed on the new arrangement with Peacock, although these specials will still be available outside of the platform via the traditional pay-per-view format.
Existing WWE Network subscribers will probably heave a sigh of relief at having their current $9.99 monthly rates being reduced to $4.99 once they are merged with Peacock (at Prime plans), a half-price cut with added non-WWE content to boot. Premium Plus, which removes ads, remains at $9.99 for now. But these changes are only for WWE Network subscribers in the US. Overseas, the service remains available as a standalone platform, while in Japan it is an actual TV network.
Image from Wrestling News Resource