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Followup Column On Low WWE RAW Ratings


Okay, my last column sure was a doozy. Instead of simply moving on, I will write a followup on the low WWE RAW ratings discussion and then focus on other topics next week after the TLC pay-per-view.

Seem fair? Let's do this in 'reader feedback' style by responding to the always fun comment section...

ikon: Good for them raking in millions of dollars on a bad product. Lets celebrate?!?!? Sure their business side is doing fine, but the viewer drop off is a blatant telling of how bad the product has become. Why should we be happy for them making so much money off of a rapidly declining product?

My assumption is you do not read my columns on other websites. That is fine, but to be clear: I no longer watch Smackdown and haven't in nearly a year. Raw? I cut the (cable) cord two months ago when I moved into a new condo and only watch the Hulu Plus 90 minute version. There was no celebrating at all last week - just putting a factual light on WWE business NOT being solely based on television ratings. Oh, and no, the product has not been my cup of tea for awhile. NXT is awesome! The main roster...not even close.

Eliot Tirado: RAtings will go up, whenever Ambrose, Reigns, Sheamus are stablished stars and when Orton, Rollins, Cena and all of those guys come back.

I'm sure numbers will go up in January-April 2016. Remember the night after WrestleMania 31 drew an average of 5.3 million viewers - nearly 5.6 in the second hour. Now obviously, that is a one-off viewership figure and not fair to use as a comparison, BUT it shows you that the wrestling fans are out there. If given a reason, trust me - all it takes is one click on the remote to tune in. As for your main point...

...that is something I touched on earlier this week in a different column (on another website). WWE has lost Seth Rollins, Cesaro, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Randy Orton, and others. Some full-time, some part-time. Some planned time off, others were randomly injured unexpectedly. You have to cut WWE a little slack trying to piece all this together on short notice. In a perfect world, we are getting the long awaited Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns feud right now. Not Sheamus leading the League of Nations.

Just like any sports team. If your starting five all got hurt at the same time, yeah - things would be tough for awhile...

Snap: Remember how disappointed WWE was when they barely negotiated a marginally better deal than their previous deal, when they were so confident there would be a bidding war over them and they would more than double their rights fees? If ratings continue to tank, it is not going to benefit them when it comes time to renegotiate their contract.

Gotham, which airs at the same time as RAW for example, has been averaging 6 to 7 million viewers (Castle, which also airs at the same time as RAW, also averages 6 million viewers), while The Walking Dead averages between 12 and 13 million and The Big Bang Theory has been averaging 14 and 15 million viewers. Then there is: Game of Thrones - 6/7 million
Bones - 5/6 million
The Goldbergs - 6/7 million
Chicago Fire - 7/8 million
Modern Family - 7/8 million
Doctor Who - 5/6 million

I'm sure if I continued, I could find more that are easily outperforming (and, in some cases, destroying) WWE on weekly cable. If WWE is the top rated program on USA will numbers of 3/4 million viewers, that's nothing to boast at when there are so many other shows with better numbers than they can muster. I don't think it can be rationalized away with claims that no other show can do better.

...except nearly all those shows you listed are NOT on cable. They are on broadcast television. The Goldbergs, Modern Family, Chicago Fire, Bones, Big Bang Theory, etc. Not cable. Sorry to correct you, but let's keep it real. The Walking Dead is on AMC (cable) and a monster hit right now. However, that show is not on 52 weeks a year, with a three hour show every Monday and a two hour show on Thursday, and multiple one hour shows during the week.

Every. Single. Week.

Walking Dead (and others) produce what, 16 one hour shows per year? Yeah, when they can write brilliant TV and have huge cliffhangers for five hours a week, every week, year round without any lull periods or bad stretches, let me know.

Right or wrong, WWE is unlike anything else on TV. You have to remember that.

PWTorch notes that TV Rights Fees made up 39.2% of their total revenue (so far) in 2015. Clearly, that is a nice chunk of the pie. Yet still...there is another 60% to be accounted for, and every other financial area appears to be stable especially with the WWE Network, the second biggest money winner, on the rise in the coming months. WWE will indeed have to worry when it comes time to renegotiate their deals in a few years (something I wrote about), but nobody knows where things will stand in 2018 or whenever...good or bad.

In conclusion, I will bring this all full circle by ending this column with the two paragraphs that started my last column:

"Okay, do not let the title of the column deceive. WWE television ratings are at near all-time lows, and that is obviously a bad thing. Obviously. Every single person would love for RAW to be pulling in 15 million viewers per week, with Smackdown grabbing 10 million each Thursday. Duh! All shows on all channels want bigger and better numbers. That goes without saying...

...however, can we all take a deep breath and just relax for a little bit? As bad as the recent WWE ratings have been, that is not the whole story, nope – not even close. Heck, for those still paying attention, RAW still ranks as one of the most watched cable shows each week, but that is not my point today. Despite all the coverage of that one side of the business, there are many more FACTS that remain."

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