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The Writers’ Room: Can WWE’s TV ratings be fixed?

The Writers’ Room: Can WWE’s TV ratings be fixed?

The Writers’ Room takes you into the Cageside Seats employees Slack channel for a take a look at our answers to fascinating, urgent or bizarre wrestling questions.

At present, we’re getting in over our heads and discussing TV ratings.

Brent Brookhouse: Is there any repair to WWE’s middling TV ratings? It has all the time been arduous to seek out “draws” in pro wrestling and that definitely appears to be an enormous drawback for them presently. Like, Becky Lynch is OVER. But she’s not likely proven to be a DRAW (no less than yet). So…can they proper the ship on the TV end?

Tommy Messano: Damn that’s an excellent question lol.

First instinct would be to say no because every little thing, in addition to the NFL, are seeing their ratings plummet.

Brent: And not to derail my own query, but as we’re speaking about this, we’re additionally seeing that the enterprise isn’t struggling.

In fact, business will endure if the TV offers that make up a lot of their revenue are ultimately affected.

Also, Vince is speaking about this right this very second.

Vince: One of many causes ratings and stay events have dropped is because of absence of favorite stars.
Q: With all of those injuries, attendance by may again up next yr?
Vince: Proper.

— Brandon Howard Thurston (@BrandonThurston) February 7, 2019

Henry T. Casey: My first concept is that I’d always change which hour has crucial content, because for some time it’s seemed like the third hour is meaningless.

Tommy: I really feel like baseball, UFC, and NASCAR are asking these similar questions. For baseball and UFC there’s still rolling in money regardless of TV ratings sinking lower every of the previous five years.

Henry: WWE at the very least can control its narratives to a sure diploma.

Tommy: True, I’m wondering if WWE Network being extensively obtainable has harm WWE’s tv ratings. Product is out there 24/7, so followers don’t have to wait till Uncooked or SmackDown to get their fix.

Sean Rueter: For one factor, I’d call bullshit on Vince’s argument there. Who is harm? Roman and… everybody else is a part-timer whose schedule gained’t really change going ahead, besides they’ll show up less.

I don’t essentially assume “make the brand the star” is a nasty mannequin. It’s obtained us diehards hooked, and we’re the ones driving that document revenue. And I feel they’re trying to create more diehards globally, quite than spend money on making Uncooked, SmackDown, and so forth higher products… or in different phrases, treating the brand like a star.

Henry: Do they assume Bray drives ratings?

Sean: He’s not harm although! They’re simply selecting to not use him (allegedly).

Henry: I mean, this brings up a query. Does Vince mean shoot harm or kayfabe harm?

As a result of I swear he’s working the buyers.

Sean: That’s an fascinating query… with a probably charge-able answer.

Henry: The amount of content drives burnout, to a level. A minimum of for those overlaying these things.

Kyle Decker: I truthfully do not know how they will improve ratings in an era where there are so many rattling choices for all leisure that “flavor of the month “ is the very best to purpose for.

They don’t have time without work. So followers get burned out and keep that method.

Henry: I imply, “make Raw more fun” is a thing.

It’s a always shouted concept.

I don’t have concrete advice for a way you do this, outdoors of creating it feel not-stale.

Kyle: Yeah we don’t know what they’d seem like with a persistently good product. As a result of Uncooked is hit and miss all the time.

Sean: It wouldn’t be a quick ratings fix just like the McMahons appear to favor, but the best way to stave off ratings decline and get more viewers (versus getting present ones to take a position/spend more) is to create a better product. Rent totally different administrators, attempt different things creatively, and so forth.

Make Uncooked and SmackDown a show I might inform my wrestling-hating or agnostic buddies who love action films and sci-fi/fantasy/superhero fiction, “hey, you need to check this out” as an alternative of “uh, yeah, I still kind of dig it, but, you know…”

Kyle: But I guess if it have been persistently good it wouldn’t shoot up the ratings as a result of it’s 5 hours every week all the time.

Sean has an excellent point with persistently making an attempt something new. They could tell us they are however Uncooked is so stale in its presentation.

Sean: That is true… that’s WWE’s preaching to choir drawback. The only individuals who will make that may even think about making that type of time dedication are already watching.

However once more, that’s why they should attempt various things… themed hours, or a unique sort of over-arching plot aside from “evil authority figure keeps scrappy anti-hero down”, or… one thing, like Henry stated, that’s not stale.

With that a lot content, I don’t know that “create new stars” would even work… would anybody watch 5 hours every week of Stone Cold or Hogan? I don’t assume so, not without different modifications

Kyle: I really like NXT partially because it’s 1 hour every week. I’m left wanting extra. It’s onerous not to get burned out with even 5 hours every week of excellent product. I don’t need extra after that. I need a break.

And for the casuals how should see is that program? 30% on a superb week? There’s no danger of skipping it.

Sean: That gets again to Brandon Howard tweet and Brent’s point about it although – the company depends on those five hours of Uncooked and SmackDown to make the cash to supply the content on the Network. Doesn’t appear to be shortening exhibits is even a risk.

Kyle: Which is why I not only don’t have an answer but I’m unsure there’s one.

Tommy: Think about 5 hours every week of your favorite TV present and then once a month it shoots up to 9 hours every week? Plus no off season. Eek.

Kyle: That’s leisure now. More content material. Is something flourishing within the ratings?

Sean: Yeah, I maintain circling back to “find new ways to make and showcase” stars which… no shit. I don’t understand how you do this, however that’s why WWE makes the large bucks.

The distinction between WWE and, say, Disney in terms of the content material creation recreation is that Disney appears to have more flexibility within the kinds of tales they tell. Typically Uncooked looks like they do this (this feud’s a revenge thriller, this program is a comedy, and so forth), but perhaps they need to decide to it extra.

Wrestling should be this broad canvas, however WWE seems to all the time revert back to portray the identical two or three footage.

Tommy: McMahon authority determine versus wrestler!!!

Brent: To jump back in. I maintain questioning if the media panorama — and not twine slicing necessarily — makes it a lot more durable to seek out consistency in ratings for a year-round, 5 hours every week (6 when you also need NXT, 7 for those who additionally want 205, 11ish if it’s a PPV week) inconceivable. Individuals aren’t really “stuck” on the lookout for something to observe anymore. For like $40 a month you’ll be able to have Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix and by no means truly run out of issues to observe. There’s not likely any extra being the “best available option” for individuals. Like…does anyone (except my fiance) “channel surf” in search of one thing to observe anymore?

Even the nebulous concept of “make Raw better” type of fails when Smackdown IS higher and their ratings aren’t precisely thriving.

Henry: Would changing the time format make it higher?

Like, would individuals be extra more likely to tune into … hour-by-hour blocks? Or is predicability dangerous?

Brent: I feel there’s some benefit there. However there’s additionally the considering of “WWE programming used to be unpredictable!” I’m genuinely wondering if the trustworthy reply is “these ratings are just what WWE ratings look like in the current world and they may move up or down a bit at times, but this is the baseline so accept it.”

Sean: The cord-cutting argument (which I feel is valid, and having spent the last week at my people where they have cable but no streaming providers, the shift back to channel surfing is a STRUGGLE) makes me marvel if that’s not it. There are individuals, from Meltzer to followers, who assume the ratings have to vary or Fox and NBCUniversal are going to be pissed. But the networks also take a look at the overall landscape and see what’s happening. Why do we expect they anticipate more than what they’re getting now? Would Vince & workforce be conceited/loopy enough to promise them they might out of the blue buck the development of the last decade?

If Raw and SmackDown, on their worst weeks, prime the ratings and float round two million viewers all yr round… what else is giving them those kinds of returns? Perhaps this can be a fan and wrestling media-created crisis? I don’t know.

Brent: I additionally assume the “if ratings don’t improve, they’ll be pissed” factor doesn’t hold a ton of water. It’s not like this began after the deals, those offers have been made by corporations that may have executed no end of analysis into developments before offering that degree of cash.

Sean: Precisely. I’ve seen individuals (I feel attributed to Dave) declare that Fox is anticipating three million viewers for SmackDown, which appears ludicrous to me that they might demand that or WWE would promise it.

Brent: I assume we might just take a look at this last Friday on Fox. 8pm was Final Man Standing (5.93 million viewers), eight:30 The Cool Youngsters (four.65 million), 9 Hell’s Kitchen (3.08 million).

Sean: Properly, rattling. Perhaps they’ll anticipate three million.

Henry: Might they convince Brock to be on SmackDown Reside every week?

Brent: Nevertheless it’s additionally a neater channel to get three million on. I feel it’s truthful to assume there’ll be some bump. If I twine minimize with Xfinity, I still get local stations by way of them if I have their web. Additionally, most streaming plans have a point of native. So…perhaps it’s truthful?

And the age demo is effective in itself. It’s going to skew youthful than most issues competing for Friday night time ratings.

Sean: Yeah, I might see that argument – I nonetheless don’t assume they’re gonna get it though. Would a two hour block of Tim Allen get three million?

But isn’t the WWE/wrestling viewers getting old?

Brent: Every viewers is growing older. The planet is dying and we’re all simply right here to witness the top. However at the least Lesnar will be holding the belt when the bombs go off.

Kyle: Eat Arby’s.

Sean: … nihilists.