Why Netflix Bet On The WWE

There is a big reason that Netflix paid out for the WWE. And it was not just to win headlines or justify a price increase. It’s because the WWE has a social media presence as far as watch time that adds up to over 2 billion minutes. Next is the king of sports with 1.1 billion minutes of watch time across major social media networks. Avid fans of the promotion have likely seen segments where the WWE highlights this kind of content following major live premium events like Wrestlemania or Summer Slam.

And this is not just about its presence on official social media. Go to YouTube and search for any current WWE Superstar’s name. You will find them in clips, podcasts, news reports, fan made documentaries and more. You can find countless retired WWE stars talking about the old days on the road, and what went down between and ahead of classic matches.

More so, there is a stunning lack of overlap between the people who take in WWE content across the web and people who currently subscribe to Netflix. The YouTube overlap between Netflix and the WWE was under 3%. This means Netflix could cash in on a lot of new subscribers. Just ask Peacock. The last Wrestlemania scored the streamer its highest viewing numbers aside from the SuperBowl. Lost in a lot of the reporting about the deal is that Netflix also picked up the international streaming rights to WWE’s major monthly events and the streaming rights to the rest of the organization’s shows.

The WWE has two perpetually traveling tours that go across the country filling up NBA-sized arenas with multigenerational, multi-ethnic crowds with a surprising balance of both men and women. Its fan base takes the “Then Now Forever Together” motto very seriously. Not only have the crowds grown more diverse, led by Dwayne The Rock Johnson, who himself built off the foundation laid by Hulk Hogan, Rody Piper and Jesse Ventura the WWE has become a Hollywood star maker. Steve Austin does tide commercials, John Cena stars in romantic comedies, Johnson can show up pretty much anywhere from College Game Day to Sesame Street and would not look out of place.

This is what Netflix has paid 5 billion dollars for. Not just a weekly show that brings in over a million viewers per week to USA Network. So before you shake your head or say its fans won’t follow think of the scope of the appeal. Also consider that USA Network may be letting go of Raw but it already signed up to be the home of WWE’s Friday show “Smackdown”.

This is not all a sure thing. It could be a step too far for some fans or confuse the marketplace. But it is a good bet.