Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Netflix, and Hulu are the kings of streaming. Everyone else is playing catch up. CBS All Access is being rebranded as Paramount Plus to reflect the re-merger of CBS and Viacom. HBO Max can’t get HBO subscribers to sign up for a free app, let alone attracting non-HBO subscribers to start paying for it. Then there is Peacock.
NBC is all in on Peacock, even though subscribers are hard to come by. NBC even killed the NBC Sports Network, with the hopes of pushing a lot of sports programming on to Peacock or USA. In addition, Peacock has inked a deal with the WWE to fold the U.S. version of WWE Network int to Peacock for a 5 year $100 million deal. WWE will keep the international operation of their streaming network to themselves.
The deal shows the problems of both Peacock and WWE Network. $200 million a year is a high price to pay for 1.3 million subscribers, especially when most may opt for a new Peacock package of $5 a month with ads when they used to pay $10 for WWE Network. On the WWE side, it shows that the WWE Network never added up to the solution they needed. The WWE Network cannibalized the WWE’s entire pay per view business by allowing network subscribers to watch all the pay per views at just $10 a month. The WWE Network never reached the 2 million U.S. subscribers that would have allowed them to offset the loss of that pay per view revenue. In addition, the hopes of the WWE Network on an international audience has never materialized as they only have 400,000 subscribers. WWE can now pocket $200 million a year, but that doesn’t mean much when you consider all the content they still will produce, including all those pay per view events.
There are way too many streaming services out there, there aren’t enough streaming dollars out there as so many more people are still attached to cable. Producing great content doesn’t necessarily mean they will attract enough subscribers to become the next Netflix.