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NBC/Universal Executive Says AEW Would Be Valuable For HBO Max


The days are long gone when pro wrestling fans had to record wrestling matches or wait for DVD releases to watch their favorite pay-per-view events and shows. It’s the era of streaming services and pro wrestling is a major part of it.

Universal Studios Group Business Affairs Manager Mik Pandit was guest on Eric Bischoff’s Strictly Business podcast. Pandit talked about the advantages that could come AEW’s way if they get an HBO Max deal.

“I think that is a huge advantage for them. This is not revealing anything internal but NBCU Executives have been very clear with how pleased they are with the WWE’s drive of subscribers to the Peacock platform.

“Part of the advantage for WWE is there are new events each month, yes but then two, arguably three or four times a year, they have these big events. Your WrestleManias, the upcoming supershow in the UK, Saudi events that drive consumers who might not have been subscribed to say I have to watch this.

“They’re loyal, they want to see new content. Is a baseline of a million viewers something Tony can sell as an advantage for him? Yes, the question is what is the price he’s going to get for that?

“Now as we see more consolidation in the industry and their partnership primarily with WarnerMedia that’s being run by Discovery Executives, not Warner Executives, from all intensive purposes from what we have seen and I don’t know anyone in that organization, but they’re going to run a much leaner and meaner business than Warner had planned on running.

“Now does that mean AEW is going to get the kind of live rights media fees that they would’ve gotten a couple of years ago? I don’t know the answer to that but I think the advantage for AEW is that even at an increase to what they’re currently getting paid which is around 40-45 million a year, it’s still probably cheaper than scripted programming.

“I don’t know Nick Khan but he was making this point repeatedly. That we were seeing what they call peak subscription or subscription fatigue when it comes to streaming service,

“Five years ago when there was Netflix and the WWE Network, it was great, you pay $10 and you get all the wrestling in the world. Now HBO Max is $15 a month, Disney Plus is $10 a month, Netflix is probably $17 a month, and Paramount is $10, there are many other products even outside of entertainment consumption that are subscription-based.

“You’re getting to a point to where justifying paying $10 a month just for wrestling content is going to be very difficult for all but the most hardcore of consumers. Somebody who probably watches wrestling one out of every three pay-per-views probably wouldn’t.

“AEWs advantage is they have on average 1 million linear cable viewers week to week. Most of those people probably have access to an HBO Max so I would imagine it’s more valuable for HBO Max to have that content on HBO Max so they can grow their subscription base and retain it.

“Of those 1 million AEW fans, if let’s say half of them subscribe to HBO Max, that’s a solid 400,000 fans and subscribers who are going to drop off at a lower rate than your average subscriber.”

As of March 2022, HBO Max had a reach of approximately 76.8 million subscribers in the United States. It’ll be massive if AEW manages to finalize a deal with subscription-based streaming service.