Tuesday, January 30, 2024

WWE wrestling to remain on MultiChoice's DStv despite Netflix's slamdunk global deal.

by Thinus Ferreira

WWE isn't taking a slamdunk to Netflix in Africa anytime soon and will remain on DStv with MultiChoice's licensing deal for this wrestling content that hasn't lapsed yet.

Last week Netflix and the owners of WWE in America announced a new R94 billion deal whereby its wrestling - including all WWE shows and specials, including Smackdown and NXT including Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble - will move from Comcast to Netflix from January 2025 in the United States and globally.

Comcast has a stake of 30% through its NBCUniversal in MultiChoice's relaunched Showmax streaming service.

Bela Bajaria, Netflix's chief content officer, in a prepared statement of the announcement said "By combining our reach, recommendations and fandom with WWE, we'll be able to deliver more joy and value for their audiences and our members".

Importantly, Netflix and TKO Group Holdings - the owner of the WWE - announced that Netflix would become the "exclusive home" outside of North America for all WWE shows but left out was that it excludes Africa and countries like South Africa for the time being.

MultiChoice in response to a media query, told TVwithThinus that the Randburg-based pay-TV operator can confirm that "WWE events, including RAW, Smackdown, NXT, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble will continue being available on SuperSport".

MultiChoice and SuperSport has held the WWE broadcast rights for sub-Saharan Africa since 2017 after stealing it away with a better financial offer from eMedia Holdings' e.tv. MultiChoice then expanded its WWE partnership agreement in 2019.

In November 2022, MultiChoice and the WWE announced a major broadcast partnership and said in a statement that it "will see Showmax - the leadering streaming service available in the region - become the new home of WWE Network in Africa".

As to Netflix stealing WWE away in the US and globally in a growing number of markets, MultiChoice says "As Africa's premium sports broadcaster, we're pleased to continue entertaining our viewers with the best in international wrestling".

"We are also pleased to bring wrestling fans WWE Premier Live Events as well as a dedicated 24-hour WWE channel on DStv and GOtv, which has archive content, documentaries and bespoke WWE shows such as Jambo WWE."