One of television's most successful professional wrestling shows is moving off of cable and into streaming.
Netflix and TKO Group Holdings, which owns the WWE and UFC, announced Tuesday that both sides have agreed to a long-term partnership that will bring WWE's "Raw" exclusively to Netflix beginning next year. The 10-year deal is worth a reported $5 billion.
"This deal is transformative," TKO President Mark Shapiro said in a statement. "It marries the can’t-miss WWE product with Netflix’s extraordinary global reach and locks in significant and predictable economics for many years. Our partnership fundamentally alters and strengthens the media landscape, dramatically expands the reach of WWE, and brings weekly live appointment viewing to Netflix."
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Since debuting in 1993, "Raw" is the WWE's most successful weekly program, bringing in more than 17 million unique viewers each year, according to WWE. With 1,600 episodes to date, the three-hour program is currently the No. 1 show on USA Network and has launched the careers of stars like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, John Cena and many others.
"We are excited to have WWE Raw, with its huge and passionate multigenerational fan base, on Netflix," said Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria. "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. Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE."
Along with "Raw," Netflix will also have the exclusive rights to stream all WWE shows and specials, including "SmackDown," "WrestleMania," "SummerSlam" and "Royal Rumble." The companies said WWE's award-winning documentaries, original series and any future projects will also be available on Netflix starting next year.
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