Is RAW getting rid of commercials? That could be the case based off a new report coming after the announcement that Netflix acquired the rights to air RAW. Does this mean Netflix subscribers with the commercial-free option get to watch uninterrupted matches or will the WWE come up with contrived situations so matches don't air during commercials?
CNBC media reporter Alex Sherman recently tweeted about the situation:
If this story pans out, should fans who pay the premium for commercial-free content have cause for celebration? Does this mean fans will get to see more in-ring action? It's an enticing possibility. After all, how many times have fans see wrestler A about to pin wrestler B before a commercial break only to see wrestler B about to murderize wrestler A following the break? Announcers can bring fans up to speed but the commercial break disrupts the match, even if the WWE goes with the picture-in-a-picture option where fans see the action side-by-side with a commercial.
Fans may see a not-so-pleasant blast from the past as the WWE structures its shows so matches end before commercials. Fans will recall the WWE's bizarre policy from a few years back (pre-pandemic), where it did not air matches during commercials. This led to matches being stopped and restarted so that fans watching at home didn't miss out on matches.
The problem was that the WWE didn't put much thought into this, and fans ended up with contrived situations. For example, a wrestler would interfere in a singles match, leading to an authority figure restarting it as a tag match (typically after a commercial break). Needless to say, fans weren't pleased as this disrupted the flow of the WWE's weekly shows.
Fans who watch WWE content on Peacock know that the WWE and Peacock have found a way to provide different content for Peacock subscribers with the commercial-free option. The WWE may find alternative content to run in between matches, but WrestleLamia doubts this will happen. This would likely disrupt the flow of matches more than commercials and give Netflix subscribers no reason to opt for the commercial-free option, particularly WWE fans who subscribe to Netflix primarily for WWE content.
If Netflix airs RAW and carries matches in their entirety for commercial-free subscribers, the streaming service has a powerful incentive to convince lower-tier subscribers to choose the commercial-free option.
Netflix has until 2025 to work with the WWE to figure things out. If ever a company has proven the adage "necessity is the mother of invention," it's the WWE. The company's ability to bring fans back into the mix during a worldwide quarantine is a great example of how the WWE thinks outside the box.
Photo Credit: WWE