Monday morning brought the major announcement that WWE Network will be integrated into NBC’s Peacock app, and The Wrap spoke with WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan about what the move means for the promotion. Khan was asked about the specific benefits for WWE, and he says it’s not just a cost-cutting move to maintain the app in-house.
“So here’s what it is. Vince McMahon and the WWF, at the time, were the first movers from closed circuit to pay-per-view in the early ’80s, the first mover in the sports/entertainment space, outside of Netflix, to the SVOD model in 2014, and we believe the first mover, again, in this deal to partner with a massive conglomerate that has significant reach, in order to serve our fans and expand our audience.
So I’ll give you an example: Peacock is free in the [24 million] Comcast cable and Cox cable homes, as I’m sure you know, so…for the first time ever, WrestleMania, which is our Super Bowl, is going to be available for free to those homes. In addition to that, it cuts the cost for our consumers from $9.99 a month for WWE Network to $4.99 a month on the ad-supported tier of Peacock,” Khan explained, “where they’ll get not only WWE but EPL (English Premier League), ‘The Office,’ Dick Wolf and so many other titles.”
Khan says that the lack of live events did not play a factor, neither did taking a loss financially. The move to Peacock strengthens the WWE / NBCUniversal relationship, but it also leads to questions about the alliance with FOX and SmackDown. Khan says WWE remains happy with the relationship, and Peacock doesn’t change that.
“We’re confident and happy with our Fox/”SmackDown” relationship, which still has multiple years left on it,” Khan said. “So nothing has changed in that arena.”
Peacock Chief Revenue Officer Rick Cordella was also quoted in the interview, noting that WWE Network on Peacock makes sense because they believe there’s a larger audience of wrestling fans out there.
“So our overall goal, and why I think NBCU decided to move forward with this deal, is that we believe we can expand the accessibility of this content, right? That we can — through NBCU marketing, through the outlets that we have, all the various media outlets, through the price point reduction, through the addition of content — that we can grow this audience significantly that currently watched it,” Cordella explained, “and that will have downstream impact to the rest of WWE and those TV ratings, hopefully, that you see on linear television, as well as to Peacock. There is a halo effect to those users coming in for WrestleMania, but then sticking around and watching “The Office,” watching “Yellowstone,” watching some of the great content we have in the 30,000 hours that are now bundled in with their subscription price.”