Executives at World Wrestling Entertainment said it the best – WWE is not a technology company. Instead of operating as a streaming service, it now wants to return to making content.
WWE will host the Super Bowl of wrestling this weekend with its WrestleMania event on NBCUniversal‘s Peacock streaming service. It’s part of a more than $1 billion exclusive rights deal that is repositioning the longtime entertainment firm to focus on its product and avoid the streaming wars.
“At the end of the day, we’re not a technology company and shouldn’t try to be,” Stephanie McMahon, the WWE’s chief brand officer, told CNBC. “We are a content company at our core, and we want to do what we do best.”
Added chief financial officer Kristina Salen: “Everyone has a plus. There is Disney+, Paramount+, Discovery+ but not everyone has branded content with a huge fan base like WWE. So, we saw there was a huge demand for what we had to offer, and we could take that money and double-down and do what we do best which is content.”
The focus on creating content shows a sort of counter-narrative to the streaming wars where companies create apps and services loaded with movies and TV shows. WWE is ditching its own streaming service and is instead focusing on making new stuff for people to watch on Peacock.
The content game is only the beginning for WWE in this new decade as it prepares for a post-Covid world with new revenue possibilities. But the future will also bring questions around if WWE is a smart investment, and how it plans to approach more competition that wants to threaten its market share.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon of US speaks during the Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal on November 6, 2018.Pedro Fiúza | NurPhoto | Getty ImagesLessons learned
Like the rest of the entertainment world, WWE had to innovate on the fly after the pandemic hit last March. The company moved events to Florida to continue operations and save media rights. It adjusted to no spectators by transitioning its pyrotechnics-filled content to a more cinematic production