Hulu offers a wide selection of WWE content to subscribers including RAW, NXT, Superstars, Miz & Mrs, Total Divas, and many more. With new episodes of WWE shows arriving on Hulu after they’ve aired on traditional television. Peacock then gets the latest episodes of RAW and SmackDown 30 days after they’ve aired.
During the most recent World Wrestling Entertainment quarterly results investors call, WWE’s President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan shared an update on the current situation with its shows including RAW appearing on Hulu and giving an update on the future of WWE content being available on Hulu.
We have two key negotiations in our sites that will drive value for our company. The first is our RIA rights for Raw on Hulu, which expire in the back half of 2022.
In terms of the Raw RIA rights, we know from the data that there is a substantial and recurring audience who watch the program via delayed viewing week-to-week on Hulu. When we closed the Hulu deal in 2018, the media landscape was quite different, as we all know. NBCU was an active owner of Hulu, and Peacock was just a nascent dream. We now all know that in a 2021 world, NBCU is a passive Hulu owner and barring exigent circumstances, NBCU’s stake will be bought out by Disney at Hulu’s 2024 valuation.
Let’s keep in mind what we all know. In addition to Disney’s initial Hulu ownership percentage, Disney picked up Fox’s ownership stake in Hulu with Disney’s acquisition of a large majority of FOX two-plus years ago. We also recently saw executive shifts from Hulu to Peacock, and we believe that in addition to all other platforms looking for event programming that resonates that the battle for Raw’s RIA rights will be intense and fun.
Earlier this year, in the United States, the WWE’s own streaming service, WWE Network, was folded into Comcast’s Peacock, on a multi-year billion-dollar deal. So it’s very likely that Peacock could be the next home, but the WWE will go to whoever offers the best deal. WWE has also recently worked with Netflix on an interactive special.
Recently, during Comcast’s quarterly results investor call it was revealed that Comcast isn’t planning on selling its stake in Hulu until 2024, leaving Disney with a streaming service that is without a direction, because ultimately, it’s not in Disney’s best interest to build up Hulu, while Comcast still owns a third of it.
Over the next few years, Hulu is going to continue to lose access to large amounts of library content, as Comcast, TimeWarner and other content creators start removing their library content to focus on their own streaming services.
Do you think Disney should renegotiate for WWE to stay on Hulu?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.