WWE has changed since the new regimen took over. The change has helped ratings and boosted roster morale. WWE Universe seems to be connected to him, but will everything change soon? Will viewers have to watch the programming on a streaming platform instead of cable TV? The question comes after WWE co-CEO Nick Khan made some comments during the second quarter earnings call. Will WWE put an additional burden on fans and ask them to pay more? Will fans have to purchase a third-party subscription to watch weekly shows like Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown?
The earnings call was hosted by President and Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon, Co-CEO Nick Khan, Chief Creative Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque and CFO Frank Riddick. The earnings call discussed the improvement in ratings for weekly shows. Nick Khan discussed the cable television rights, which would be renewed in 2024. NBCUniversal and FOX currently hold the rights to WWE Raw and SmackDown, respectively. Khan talked about how Netflix could be a potential bidder. We all know how Netflix made a bid for the broadcast rights to Formula 1. Nick Khan commented:
“At Netflix, we have been saying on these calls for many months that we think Netflix is looking to get into the live space. We got confirmation of that last quarter when Netflix made an offer for the rights to Formula 1. We think Netflix’s appetite for live (programming) will only increase after the introduction of their level of advertising. As we all know, the strongest CPMs are the ones that are sold against live programming.” [h/t: Comicbook]
Khan also mentioned that Alphabet Inc., which is the parent company of Google, and Apple also made offers last year for live programming. Does that mean they can bid on WWE product in 2024? Whether that happens is an unknown question, but what is known is that WWE would not gain fans by going to a specific platform to stream their weekly shows live.
Cable television helps millions of fans access weekly television at no additional cost. If WWE turns to a streaming platform, that will increase the financial burden on the WWE Universe. They would have to buy an additional subscription to watch their favorite shows. In contrast, WWE can keep things the way they are and have their weekly shows on cable television, while fans who want access to other content can go to Peacock TV and watch their favorite shows.
The weekly ratings have been the ones that have made the decision of whether a program is doing well or needs an improvement. If WWE goes online, then the ability to improve their product will go downhill, as will people’s access and willingness to view the product. So this doesn’t seem like a ‘Best for Business’ idea unless WWE wants to make a false move and lose their fans to their nemesis.