On January 25, WWE and NBC Universal announced WWE Network would be moving to Peacock.
WWE Network launched in 2014 and housed all archived WWE footage along with original content and live events, but failed to sustain an average of two million subscribers. With the move to Peacock, WWE will be part of a larger library of content and a platform that currently has over 30 million subscribers.
Speaking on the fourth quarter and year-end 2020 financials call, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon explained why the move was made.
"The landscape has changed. COVID-19 and quarantine accelerated a behavioral viewership shift to streaming platforms. Streaming behemoths are investing heavily in technology and infrastructure in order to scale. With operational efficiencies, creating more flexible pricing options. The biggest thing all of these providers have in common is the need for branded content. In order to be competitive, we need to pivot away from the technology necessary for an optimum user experience and allocate our resources against what we do best; content creation, production, and storytelling. We get to do it with a trusted partner we have had for 30 years; NBCU. Partnering with NBCU's Peacock not only provides a greater value proposition for our current subscribers, it also allows us to deliver our most premium content to a significantly larger audience, including the 33 million people who have already signed up for the service. Additionally, the partnership gives greater access to NBCU's best-in-class teams across sales, marketing and promotion across some of the most iconic franchises in the United States and around the world. With NBCU and Peacock; every three years is the Super Bowl, every two years is the Olympics, and every year is WrestleMania. We believe more than ever in the power of our brand," she said.
WWE has had a relationship with NBCU for nearly 30 years with Raw airing on USA Network.
The expanded partnership was highlighted when WWE aired a WrestleMania Report during Football Night in America on NBC prior to the AFC Divisional Round playoff game between the Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills.
According to WWE President Nick Khan, WWE pay-per-view events will piggyback off of major NBC events.
"That announcement on their linear platform, which we thought was very creative content by Paul and Stephanie, it went viral during a football game. The NFL is the NFL, it's not for us to compare ourselves to them. We felt great about how that worked. It was a bit of a tease because the Peacock deal was already done, which is why they tagged that announcement with "Raw coming up on Monday night.' There's going to be more of that. We're finalizing our 2021 pay-per-view premium events. Look for an event to piggyback onto big NBC events where we'll have that promotional power headed our way. It's the first time ever that WWE has partnered with someone who has had that kind of reach on these events. We feel good about our chances," he said.
The current plan will see Peacock launch the WWE Network on March 18 and the first pay-per-view event streamed on the service will be WWE Fastlane on Sunday, March 21.
If you missed anything from the financials call, you can find Fightful's full recap by clicking here.