WWE content is slated to leave Hulu this Sunday, Sept. 25, due to an expiring licensing deal. The two sides could certainly come to an agreement prior to that moment, but it doesn’t seem like that is in the cards as of right now. So what does that mean for WWE content? It means that wrestling fans may have to find a new place to watch their wrestling content for the time being, but it could turn out to be a net positive in the end for sports entertainment die-hards.
WWE has had a long-standing relationship with NBCUniversal for nearly four decades, dating back to “Saturday Night’s Main Event” on NBC which debuted in 1985 and thanks to the company’s longstanding broadcast deal with USA Network to air “Monday Night RAW.” This relationship took an additional step forward last year when WWE merged its WWE Network with NBCU’s streaming service Peacock in the United states. Now, every premium live event (formerly called pay-per-views) streams live on Peacock domestically, and all previous archive and original content that was available on the network is now on its new streaming home.
So where does that leave all of WWE’s recent programming? It makes sense that Peacock would be the likely destination. Turning Peacock into a one-stop shop for all things WWE makes a lot of sense for both parties, but WWE’s other broadcast partner may not play nice. FOX, who broadcasts “Friday Night SmackDown” may prefer its programming stays on a “neutral” service like Hulu, whose ownership is split between NBCU (which owns 33%) and Disney (which owns 67%).
While FOX doesn’t have its own streaming platform in the same way NBCU and even Paramount Global do, it still has FOX Nation, which is slowly expanding its content offerings. Putting SmackDown replays on FOX Nation could be the killer app FOX needs to bolster its streaming service and make it more than FOX News Deluxe. However, that seems unlikely at this point.
If WWE execs had their way, all WWE programming might wind up on a streaming service. During the company’s second-quarter 2022 earnings call, WWE co-CEO and president Nick Khan said that the company has seen an increase in the number of streaming companies vying for live entertainment and are not opposed to the WWE going that route.
“As we know, there is no type of programming more valuable to sponsors than live,” Khan said. “As the streaming landscape matures and sports become a core offering on these services, we believe our product’s three-pronged ability to draw on viewers, retain viewers year-round, and amass large audiences that sponsors love week to week, puts WWE in a small group of premium properties for any media company.”
While the WWE is currently undergoing a leadership change as longtime CEO Vince McMahon has recently left the company in controversy, Khan and Vince’s daughter Stephanie McMahon have assumed co-CEO duties, with Stephanie’s husband Paul Michael Levesque (Triple H) becoming the Head of Creative and Chief Content Officer. Though certainly not an ideal time to make any major changes, how the WWE’s new leadership team handles this streaming transition could say a lot about what types of decisions it is planning for the future of the company.
It offers a good selection of current TV shows and its ad-supported tier is cheaper than both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You will be able to watch most shows from networks like ABC and Fox, and cable channels like FXX, FXM, HGTV, and more.
The service has a Limited Commercials plan for US$7.99 a month, or you can upgrade to their No Ads plan for US$14.99 a month. For US$69.99 a month, you can get Hulu Live TV from major cable channels, live locals and regional sports networks.
Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that includes original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series. Peacock is home to “Yellowstone,” and “The Office,” as well as original hits like “Bel-Air.” You can also watch live sports including Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and exclusive MLB games. Peacock is also the exclusive home to many WWE events like WrestleMania. Starting Nov. 30, Premium Plus subscribers will be able to stream their local NBC feed in all 210 markets.
The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like “Parks and Recreation,” and the entire Dick Wolf library including “Law & Order” and “Chicago Fire.”
The service also features blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.