Fremantle, the company that holds the license for WWE DVDs and Blu-Ray releases in Europe, announced this morning that WWE is getting out of the home video business. Their statement on X includes information on their final two releases:
With great sadness we must announce that WWE have taken the decision to withdraw from the Home Video category. No licensing deals will be renewed after 2023.
This means the very last WWE Home Video release from Fremantle will be CROWN JEWEL 2023 (2 disc-DVD) on 18th December (UK) and 22nd December (GER).
WWE Home Video has been releasing VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray for 36 years, the last 11 through Fremantle in Europe, but this will come to an end on 31st December with no further WWE DVD or Blu-Ray stock manufactured.
Everyone at WWE Home Video UK would like to thank all of our collectors and fan for their many years of support and passion.
The opening sentence seems to indicate that WWE will leaving the DVD & Blu-Ray market worldwide. Haus of Wrestling followed up with WWE to clarify or confirm that, and “were told this is the end of those items coming out of the UK but were not given clarity on the overall future of WWE DVDs, VHS tapes, or Blu-rays.” WrestlingDVDNetwork, however, says they’ve “sadly been informed that at the end of 2023 WWE Home Video will be no more, worldwide.”
If that’s right, it means the end of 40 years worth of physical media releases going back to the Coliseum Video VHS releases of the 1980s. And it comes at an interesting time, business-wise. More retailers like Best Buy either have or will soon stop selling DVDs and Blu-Rays, but at the same time there are signs those formats are gaining popularity as collectibles.
One could imagine WWE retooling their Home Video division. Cutting out mass market releases should drive anyone who just wants to watch pro wrestling/sports entertainment content to their streaming partners like Peacock. But another partner could step in and start making high-end editions of certain offerings for collectors.
But that’s just this writer’s speculation. It’s possible some last minute deal could save WWE Home Video, which is what WrestlingDVDNetwork believes happened after the company said they were cancelling home video in early 2022.
Stay tuned... or whatever the version of that phrase is for the streaming age.