The move follows that of the WWE Network, a pioneering direct-to-consumer service, to NBCUniversal’s Peacock in the U.S. last spring. That $1 billion agreement netted the WWE a significant revenue boost and execs have signaled plans to leverage streaming rights around the world. The Indonesia setup kicks off on January 30 with the Royal Rumble from St. Louis.
Similar to the Peacock arrangement, all WWE live events will be available on Disney+ Hotstar as part of a standard subscription, at no additional cost. Programming will stream in Indonesia’s local language, Bahasa Indonesia, as well as in English.
The pact is the first streaming agreement reached directly between Disney and the WWE, but the companies are understood to have held preliminary discussions for other territories. Disney is looking to add as many subscription drivers as it can on the way to its goal of 300 million to 350 million total streaming subscribers by the end of 2024.
The WWE had a prior relationship with Fox in Latin America, centered on operations that have been under the Disney umbrella since the company acquired most of 21st Century Fox in 2019. Peter Rice, formerly a top Fox exec who struck a number of deals with the WWE, is now chairman of general entertainment content at Disney. Some WWE programming, including WrestleMania, has aired on ESPN. Hulu, which has been controlled by Disney since 2019, also has streamed the WWE’s weekly Raw and SmackDown showcases after their linear premieres. Those re-air rights are due to expire later this year.
Disney+ Hotstar launched in 2020 and has accounted for more than one-third of the 118.1 million global subscribers of Disney+. In Hotstar territories, notably India, Disney+ is offered as a low-cost add-on to the Hotstar service, which has existed since 2015. Star and Hotstar were significant assets in the Disney-Fox deal.
“As home of the best global and local language content, we’re excited to welcome the extensive library of content from WWE Network to the ever expanding slate of Disney+ Hotstar. With this new content on Disney+ Hotstar, we hope to expand our reach and engage even more audiences in Indonesia,” said Vineet Puri, General Manager, Indonesia, The Walt Disney Company.
WWE President Nick Khan called Disney “the gold standard in creating iconic intellectual property that serves as the backbone for international business growth.” By teaming with Disney+ Hotstar, he added, will enable the WWE 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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