In a world of ever changing ways to consume media and a race to create the newest and best streaming service, there is a belief that two of the biggest companies may merge. This isn't a new idea within industry circles that this should and may happen, and has been rumored for over a year with new CEO Jeff Shell. It's been reported that last year when he took the helm he stated to colleagues behind closed doors that that the organization would need to merge with WarnerMedia to have enough scale to compete.
Right now both WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal are both relatively new in the streaming services market. They are going up against the likes of Disney, Netflix and Hulu. The belief is that if the two merged together they could create a "another Disney" as stated by SeekingAlpha.com. The reason being that both generated $30 billion dollars in revenue last year, each owns a major film/TV studio and a portfolio of cable channels, including news.
Now why is a wrestling website covering this, well it's due to WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal being the two networks to house the two biggest Wrestling promotions in the United States. CEO Jeff Shell may have teased his future strategy. An article published by The Information discusses NBCU’s recent programming deals and how they have relied on outside entertainment companies to widen Peacock’s audience, including the leasing of WWE Network content.
It's believed that if a deal is done, it would likely be sooner rather than later due to the amount of signups Peacock has at just 33 million with 11.3 million monthly subscribers. That’s low compared to other streaming services in the space. The two would likely need to merge together if they ever wanted to truly compete with Disney who is pulling away from everyone not named Netflix. Media analyst Rich Greenfield agrees with the NBCU CEO Shell and saying in a report last November, “We believe it is time for both AT&T and Comcast to abandon the fool’s gold of vertical integration of content and distribution and merge NBCUniversal with WarnerMedia.”
What would this mean for the wrestling business? NBCUniversal is deeply entrenched in WWE content and paying them large sums of money. Could WWE and AEW become sister companies and have the opportunity to work together? Would AEW be dropped from WarnerMedia due to the amount of money NBCUniversal owes WWE? This certainly makes since with the new restructuring of NBCUniversal to be more in the live event space as WarnerMedia has the rights to the NBA.
If the two were to merge together it would certainly make for a wild time for wrestling and it's fans. I'll be keeping a close eye on this as more information comes out however there is a lot of smoke surrounding this coming out this week. You can follow me on Twitter @view_raw.