Many Wrestling Fans Missing Out on Wrestlemania Due to Peacock Merger
Wrestlemania 37 kicked off last night. The two-night event (which appears to be WWE’s plan in the future, as they did the same last year) promises to showcase the best the WWE has to offer. It is also one of the first sporting events to have a live crowd since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Tampa Bay crowd was ready, despite the rain and weather alerts that caused some delays for the events. Many fans watched at home on several streaming platforms.
However, a large portion of U.S. fans missed out on the event. Earlier this week, the WWE Network merged with PeacockTV. This meant that viewers in the United States can no longer access the WWE Network and must subscribe to the PeacockTV premium tier to watch WWE content. This merger does not affect most international fans, who still have access to the Network.
At first, many fans were okay with the move as the subscription for PeacockTV is a little cheaper, and they were offering a four-month discount for WWE Network subscribers. There were some questions on content being edited (several segments from the Attitude Era that have racial, sexist, or homophobic undertones have been censored) as well as some of the navigation features (you can’t rewind or fast forward live events, and not all content is available yet).
Still, I was ready to sign up for PeacockTV so that I could watch the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. I fired up my Amazon Firestick to download the app and sign up for the network. I, like many others, was disappointed to find that PeacockTV is not available on that and several other platforms.
Reaching out to PeacockTV, their answer to upset customers boils down to they aren’t available on these platforms yet. They then mentioned the other platforms you can watch in on or essentially have to jailbreak my Firestick. Neither of those is acceptable answers. There is also a question on if they will offer the discount to these customers when the PeacockTV is available on these platforms.
This exposes a significant problem with the rise of streaming services over the last few years. Streaming, especially since 2020, has become the go-to way for people to consume film and television. The inception was a great idea at first. You could subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu (with Hulu allowing you to watch live TV) and save tons of money off cable or satellite.
However, now networks are getting in on the streaming game, creating their networks. PeacockTV, Paramount+, Disney+, HBO Max, and others are currently the only place to enjoy their favorite TV shows and movies from these companies.
On the one hand, this is a great business model that makes sense. These large networks own tons of content and can make a significant profit by making themselves the exclusive home for this content.
However, several of these services launch without being compatible with all platforms that people use to stream their content. For instance, when HBO Max launched, it took several weeks to be available for Firestick users. This coincided with the season premiere of South Park, which was only streaming on HBO Max. While the network rectified this quickly, several fans were upset.
We live in a society now of instant gratification. We want the things we want as soon as possible. When it comes to entertainment networks, this is an important concept to keep in mind to keep customers satisfied. And if they do not deliver on their promises, customers will complain and/or take their money elsewhere.
One has to look on Twitter or other social media associated with PeacockTV or WWE Network to see that many fans are not happy. Many have already given up on the platform and may turn away from the WWE product.
It is doubtful that the loss of WWE fans will hurt PeacockTV too much in the long run. Many people who watch their service aren’t wrestling fans. However, the loss of fans will possibly hurt WWE’s bottom line. Only time will tell on that.
In hindsight, Wrestlemania week was probably not the best timing for launching this merger. Had they waited a week, casual fans that only watch the big pay-per-views, as well as loyal fans who use the platform daily, could enjoy the biggest event of the year. This may have also given PeacockTV time to work out their deals with streaming platforms.
In the end, there will be fans who are okay with the merger and will enjoy Wrestlemania weekend. Others will have to wait for recaps on the internet.