Stephanie McMahon Addresses Mistakes WWE Made with the WWE Network

Aug 19, 2021 - by James Walsh

Stephanie McMahon recently discussed WWE’s creation of the WWE Network, how they learned from some early mistakes, and transitioning over to Peacock in a new interview. McMahon was a guest on the Sports Business Podcast, and you can check out some highlights below courtesy of Fightful:

On the early days of the Network and learning along the way: “WWE Network, like you said, was our OTT, our direct-to-consumer service that launched over seven and a half years ago. So at the time, it was really Netflix, Hulu, and WWE Now, a lot of key learnings there, but also a lot of opportunities to make mistakes. I think that’s something that we all do in this space. In this day and age. I think we had a little leeway to make a few more mistakes, given the landscape wasn’t nearly as cluttered. When I say mistakes, for example, at first, we required a [required] six-month signup. A minimum of six months that you would sign up for, and that’s something our fans weren’t interested in. So we changed it and we made it monthly. The price point was $9.99 per month, we started experimenting with free tiers and all of these different things.”

“What we found is our fans, first and foremost, we had had a linear deal almost in place that would have been being negotiated for some time. We realized that at the last minute, we wanted to own our own destiny. So we did some more research, we found that our fans were five times more likely to consume online video content than the norm. We realized we had an opportunity, which is when we launched WWE Network and what we found six years later, probably because, you know, we started looking for a streaming partner prior to COVID.”

On moving from the WWE Network to Peacock: “Again, being slightly ahead of the curve, we recognize how cluttered the space is, starting to see how the tech and streaming giants were really doubling down and investing in their products and we realized, you know, we’re really not set up to be competitive as a tech company. We’re a storytelling company. We’re a content production company. We’re a media company, we’re not a tech company and we recognize the opportunity to really partner with a best-in-class streamer. That’s how we chose Peacock, working with NBCU, our partner of over 30 years with best in class teams, you know, across all different functions, and it’s been really great for us thus far.”

“I will say, our [deal], it exactly accomplished all the things we wanted it to in terms of awareness and growing our audience. Peacock, now I think has north of 45 million sign-ups, which is significantly more than WWE Network had. We have the opportunity to reach so many different people, again, really have that best-in-class experience with our teams and also brings to light new sponsors and sales opportunities that we didn’t previously have. Again, working with NBCU, who, on a regular basis, sells the Olympics, the Superbowl, you know, you name it. All of the biggest events in the world and now, WrestleMania is a part of it.”

Leave a Reply