WWE Network to Merge with NBC'S Peacock: What Does That Mean For Streaming Service Consumers?
As a rule I try to avoid wrestling content on Cancel This Podcast; wrestling has lost it's luster in my eyes, and with live crowds nixed in favor of floating webcam heads thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, piped in crowd noise and even less sincerity than the programs already had was the final nail in the coffin for me. However, some news stories transcend my divorce from wrestling content, and this is one of them - Vince McMahon's WWE Network will officially be transferring their content library to NBC's fledgling Peacock service, effective March 18, and be available to Peacock Plus subscribers at $4.99 per month, down from the $9.99 price tag WWE has been shilling since the beginning. It's a win-win for all involved. NBC gets content, WWE gets a hefty $1 Billion over 5 years, desperately needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing the product to flounder (yeah, that's totally the problem, and not the lack of compelling storylines). Consumers get one less subscription service to pay for a month (although to be fair, I wasn't paying for WWE Network to begin with). I guess the only losers would be Disney/FOX who can't be thrilled that WWE Smackdown content will be available on NBC's product, not to mention this likely spells the end for WWE's agreements with Disney-owned Hulu.
The truth is, however, that while WWE won the Monday Night Wars, WWE Network is the first casualty in the Stream Wars. This is good for all of us, however. A $10 per month product just got folded into an existing $5 per month product. And while WWE Network to Peacock is the first, it won't be the last. Currently Disney offers a discounted rate for people who subscribe to Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+, but rumors have been swelling for several months we may see Hulu and Disney Plus engage in a full-merge in order to win subscribers; this would also potentially lower the price. Netflix limps by, raising their prices every few months, HBO Max wants to bring the cinemas into people's homes to justify its price tag, Amazon Prime is still rolling along, and now even the Discovery Channel decided to take their content (which includes the popular TLC 90 Day Fiance shows) and charge $4.99 a month for the right to view content. It seems like every provider, every channel is dividing up into their own streaming service to the point there are too many to keep up with, it's too difficult to find exactly what you want, and almost too expensive as well - the television content providers are becoming as pushy and as thirsty as the average cheap whore trying to shill her Onlyfans account on social media. Honestly, if you're a consumer, it's too much. It's enough to send people back to what they were doing before streaming services existed, and "sailing the seas" of piracy. For every The Pirate Bay mirror someone shuts down, two more pop up and between high prices, lack of good content, and pushing political agendas that compel people to boycott their products (I have canceled Netflix, Amazon AND Hulu this year), the message is going to be made very clear that the consumers are tired of this piecemeal television.
WWE just set a precedent for 2021 for one of streaming service getting absorbed into another. It is the first, but it should not be the last. I may not like the concept of "political unity," but I'm all for unity when it means that one streaming service merges with another to become a gestalt of content at a lower price point than paying for both of them would have been. Keep your fingers crossed that by the end of 2021 we only have 3 or 4 of these providers left standing, so we can cut the costs when we cut the cord, which was the entire point of doing so to begin with.