WWE shows such as Monday Night Raw and SmackDown have been broadcast on television for a long time, but their days on cable and network television may be limited. A recent profit and loss conversation with co-CEO Nick Khan showed that when the broadcast rights to both shows are ready, there is a chance that a major streaming player will be interested.
Nick Khan and other decision makers at WWE, such as Triple H (who became creative director back in July), spoke during the company’s earnings announcement for the second quarter, and Khan made a statement that may attract the attention of some. Khan noted that the future of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown could be in the streaming service, and suggested that companies like Netflix could be involved in their programming (via Brandon Thurston):
The market is even more crowded for live performances. Nick talks about major technology players entering the market. Nick believes Netflix will become more interested in live streaming when it introduces its advertising tier. Large magnification for F1. Sunday’s NFL ticket is expected to be available to streaming players.
While nothing has been definitively said about the streamer offering to buy the rights to Monday Night Raw or SmackDown, Nick Khan makes a good point. Live broadcasts are one of the surest ways to attract an audience ready to watch ads. If Netflix hopes to keep its subscribers at the advertising level for a long time, a three-hour show like Monday Night Raw could be the perfect program to keep anyone with a subscription glued to the service.
It’s interesting to hear Nick Khan mention Netflix in his statement, especially considering the relationship WWE currently maintains with Peacock. The streamer lost a lot of money to essentially absorb the WWE network and retain the rights to its catalog and pay-per-view live streaming. One would assume that he would at least get a chance to purchase Monday Night Raw or SmackDown, in addition to any other streaming services. Deals to broadcast Monday Night Raw and SmackDown expire on September 30, 2024 (via WhatCulture).
One drawback of these shows, which could potentially move to streaming, is that fans who need all of WWE’s content may need to subscribe to multiple brands. For example, if Peacock retained the pay-per-view rights, Monday Night Raw would move to Netflix, and SmackDown would move to Hulu, a fan would need three streaming subscriptions just to watch the main shows.
The positive thing is that streaming services are not bound by the same content restrictions as broadcast network television. Just like shows like “Orville: New Horizons” has evolved to include more expletives and mature themes, there’s a chance that WWE will be able to do it with Raw and SmackDown. Perhaps the US has reportedly pushed for a Raw rating upgrade to dissuade WWE from considering a streaming deal? The only thing we know is that the future of WWE programming seems wide open, and who knows where it will be when these contracts expire?
At the moment, Monday Night Raw airs in the US on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET and SmackDown on Fridays on Fox at the same time. Perhaps now is the right time to get a Peacock Premium subscription for the rest of the year with pay-per-view, as upcoming WWE live broadcasts such as Clash at the Castle sound like a must-not-miss TV.