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The WWE is getting in business with The Walt Disney Co.
The sports entertainment company and the media giant announced a deal early Tuesday to bring the WWE Network to the Disney+ Hotstar streaming service in Indonesia.
The multi-year deal will be included in the standard tier of service, and will include the company’s pay-per-view events like Wrestlemania, as well as its library content.
But the deal also sheds a light on the strategies being pursued by both companies as they grapple with the ever competitive international streaming wars.
For the WWE, the deal underscores president Nick Khan’s strategy to replicate the company’s streaming strategy overseas. Here in the U.S., WWE Network is available through NBCUniversal’s Peacock, and the Disney deal suggests that the company is pursuing similar deals in other markets. While this is the first deal the WWE has done directly with Disney, the wrestling company did have a content deal in Latin America with Fox, and which Disney inherited.
It also gives the WWE a notable content partnership with a fourth major entertainment conglomerate. In addition to the Peacock deal, WWE programming airs on NBCU’s USA Network and on Fox Corp.’s Fox network. It also has a deal with Netflix, where it has produced an interactive horror project, and an upcoming series about founder Vince McMahon.
For Disney, the deal shows that the company is willing to strike unusual deals to bring original content to its streaming services in markets outside of the U.S. Disney + Hotstar essentially combines the content of Disney+ with general entertainment and sports content in a single app, unlike in the U.S. where Disney splits its content between Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.
Hulu’s deal to stream replays of WWE Raw and Smackdown is coming up at the end of this year, a source says.
“The Walt Disney Company has long been the gold standard in creating iconic intellectual property that serves as the backbone for international business growth,” said Khan in a statement. “Partnering with Disney+ Hotstar will allow us to deliver WWE Network content including Wrestlemania on a best-in-class platform to our existing fans in Indonesia while also introducing WWE to new audiences in the region as Disney+ continues to expand its reach internationally.”
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