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NBCUniversal Executive On AEW’s Ratings, Possible HBO Max Streaming Deal

May 4, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
AEW Dynamite Tony Khan ROH Image Credit: AEW

NBCUniversal executive Mik Pandit recently weighed in on AEW’s ratings and the potential for a streaming deal on HBO Max. Pandit, who is the Universal Studios Group business affairs manager and has worked as an independent wrestler, appeared on Eric Bischoff’s Strictly Business podcast and talked about his background, AEW’s viewership and more. You can check out some highlights below, courtesy of Wrestling Inc:

On his background as a NBCUniversal executive and indy wrestler: “I have a unique background, I’ve been in the wrestling business as an independent wrestler for 14 years or so and during that time I’ve been able to do some consulting and evaluation work for WWE. Aside from that, I’ve been an attorney in New York and right now I work in business affairs at NBCUniversal, for those of you who don’t know what that means, it means I’m a really small part of a very smart experienced dedicated group of executives who work to make the deals with actors, directors, authors, and streaming companies to get a lot of the shows that you like to your TV.”

On AEW’s ratings and viewership being stable: “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.”

On a potential streaming deal for AEW at HBO Max: “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.”

article topics :

AEW, HBO Max, Jeremy Thomas