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WWE Network to shut down, with content moving to Peacock

(Logo: NBCUniversal/Comcast, Graphic: The Desk)

World Wrestling Entertainment will shut down its over-the-top streaming service WWE Network and move its library of wrestling events and documentaries to Comcast’s streaming service Peacock, the companies announced in a statement on Monday.

The move concludes the WWE’s attempt to deliver a direct-to-consumer streaming network that first launched in 2014.

Over the course of seven years, the WWE struggled to attract subscribers to the all-wrestling streaming service, even after it began offering some of its programs for free last year.

The deal announced on Monday expands on a licensing agreement reached last August that brought some WWE programs and documentaries to Peacock while other shows were distributed by the Walt Disney Company’s adult-oriented streaming service Hulu.

Under the expanded deal, shows that were previously available on Hulu and WWE Network will be distributed exclusively by Comcast through Peacock starting in mid-March. As part of the move, WWE will shut down its own streaming service and direct customers to Peacock, which starts at $5 a month for access to all content.

Terms of the deal announced on Monday weren’t revealed by either company, but the Wall Street Journal said it was valued at more than $1 billion and will last at least five years.

Broadcast rights to WWE programs are unaffected by the digital distribution deal. Comcast’s USA Network will continue to air WWE’s flagship cable program “Monday Night Raw.” Fox Corporation’s broadcast network will still air “Friday Night Smackdown” for the foreseeable future.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).