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Ratings thoughts

We know that WWE doesn't take TNA seriously as competition, but here's a question: at what point do the ratings become comparable enough that they have to? For example, as much as we joke about Aces and 0.8s, 0.8 looks a lot different next to a 2.5 than it does next to a 4.0. 

In a related question, how weak can the current RAW product get before Spike and Dixie roll the dice and make another run at a live show on Monday? Maybe they try a one-off special event on a Monday to see how they do, possibly to coincide with a European tour when RAW is taped anyway. Or do you think the beating they got last time precludes any future attempts?

I think Spike is totally happy with Impact anchoring Thursday for them and no longer has any designs on taking a run at WWE.  And the thing is, if the current RAW product gets much weaker (like sub 2.0 weaker) there's very real danger of USA not wanting to bother carrying them with those ratings.  At the very least, you'd see the show slashed to an hour and budgets reduced to 1995 levels, because most of the money for the bells and whistles comes right from the network and not from Vince's pockets.  Even now you can notice budget trimming like less pyro and such.

Really, the show BADLY needs an overhaul, because the product has gotten really dated and everything from 2008 (the onset of the HD era) to the present looks exactly the same.  Like, literally you can take a show from one year and drop it into another without the slightest cosmetic difference.  I think they need to do like the NXT set and pare it down to the bare screen (like in the early RAW is WAR days) and get rid of all the extra seizure-inducing screens on the side, and maybe mute the color palette a bit.  The show is just so LOUD and garish, which makes watching it for three hours such a headache-inducing exercise in futility for me.  None of this will ever happen, I know, but I'd really love NXT but with bigger stars and a bigger arena.  

Comments

  1. The WWE/USA contract goes through late 2014 - they ain't going anywhere for a while.

    It's also still EXTREMELY cheap TV. USA gets 52 new episodes a year from the WWE for less than like 18 episodes of Burn Notice.

    And that's the real problem. There's no real impetus for change. Even if USA dumped them because they're killing it, there are about 10 struggling cable networks that would fall over themselves for those ratings on a weekly basis. Look at how much Fox gave the UFC for those shitty ratings on FX & Fuel.

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  2. People bitching about 2.5 don't stop to think that that's still better ratings than >99% of other television shows get.

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  3. Yes, but 99% of other television shows get respectable ad rates and can be sold into syndication after 100 episodes or so. WWE gets neither of those advantages, so if they're not delivering ratings high enough to boost USA's average, then they're not delivering their only purpose for the network. The Vampire Diaries might only give the CW a 1.0 rating, for instance, but the audience is an insanely desirable demographic who buys the fuck out of whatever is advertised at them. Really, the only realistic barometer that the ratings for RAW serve is determining their rights fees at the next contract and giving USA something to brag about during sweeps. If WWE would realize that and start booking to get people to buy the damn PPVs again instead of trying to pop the ratings every week, Vince might be a billionaire again.

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  4. I was thinking of this the other day. The TV show looks no different than the PPVs people pay $50 for. I remember the first time I was in awe of a PPV setup was WM17. That shit was just amazing... made it feel like something huge... but now all the PPVs and RAW and SD are all just... very garishly homogenized.

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  5. When I stopped watching in 2010, it just wasn't fun anymore. I kind of watched it during what happened to Lawler, but I could care less about WWE or TNA. Hogan could wrestle RVD at this point on TNA, and I wouldn't bother watching. I haven't cared to look for Rock/Cena or Brock/Cena or Brock/Triple H - I just don't care about wrestling anymore. I might get in the mood for some 1986 WWF wrestling, but the modern product is done for me.

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  6. Im sorry, but I know some of you want to see Raw get those ratings like they did from the late 90's/early 00's. But truth is that era of ratings just ain't coming back. More channels than back then. People have more options on TV. Each year ratings for TV Shows goes down. Its because more channels. Its not like cable from the 80s which there was maybe 50-60 channels.

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  7. For God's sake, they need to get rid of the blue and red lighting on the crowd. The wandering spotlight amidst darkness works on Main Event, and at least WWCEW had a different feel (at 1st, before it of course became homogenized).

    Raw in '93 is different from '95/'96 is different from Attitude and then it just becomes a blur more or less. The arrangement may change but the presentation is the same.

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  8. Wasn't it USA who pushed for the three-hour Raws in the first place? Obviously they're eager enough to stay in the WWE business that they wanted even more of it.

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  9. That has been a curious point for me as well. Over a decade after true competition died out, why obsess over popping a rating, when the tangible money is in PPV revenues? I mean, what does a 2.8 rating matter as opposed to a 2.5

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  10. It all depends on the expectations of USA. If all they care about is Monday, Raw is probably ok... for now. Looking at it on a weekly basis though, RAW was once a top 5 show on cable. Just a couple of years ago, it was a top 15 show. All three hours fell down to the high 20s last week and it'll likely be lower this week.

    As Scott said, the question is: how low can this show go before its just not worth it to air it?

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  11. Yeah, but did they into it thinking every Monday was going to turn into a RAW Supershow rating? Assuming they are not that naive, you have to wonder if they expected the kind of drop off and trend we're seeing.

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  12. If Raw's ratings sink further, TNA should do a 3-hour Live Impact Special head-to-head with a taped Raw and give away the results of Raw at the start of the show (if Eric Bischoff is back on TV at that point, he should do the honors). If the show does good ratings, Spike should capitalize on the momentum and immediately move Impact to Mondays with a 2-hour format. Keep the Thursday time slot, but turn it into a 1-hour B-show instead (which TNA needs anyway).

    TNA picked the wrong time to go on Monday night by going head-to-head with WWE when their ratings weren't even close. They didn't capitalize on the momentum from 1/4/10 by moving to Monday immediately. They went with probably the worst few months of Impact in the show's history. Its worth another try, if there is a chance of success. If TNA isn't even close to Raw's ratings, they need to stay on Thursdays.

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  13. Too bad they only do taped Raws like once every 3-4 years

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  14. I would rather see them trying to do the often discussed "Clash of the Champions"-like special. "moving" Impact looks like a total failure if it doesn't work it.

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  15. One thing I often wonder is if the WWE ever gives any thought to changing Raw into something else entirely.

    At its peak, Prime Time Wrestling did excellent ratings, but once it started to slip, they changed the format several times, before eventually coming up with the concept of Raw to replace it. Eventually, despite the fact that Raw's ratings for many years were not better than the show it replaced, it went on to become the most prominent concept of modern pro wrestling as a fully produced live arena show. I guess this is why shows like Clash of the Champions, SNME, and even shows like Superstars that combined a live arena feel with a magazine style show fell by the wayside. The specials and PPVs were once seen as special treats, due to the philosophy of the company and the limitations of television production. Now they have fewer limitations, but as a result, less imagination too. The WWF of the 80s was distinct in that you had your magazine and recap shows, Superstars and Challenge which were two sides of the same coin, your PPVs and specials. All of them offered something a little different although the overlap between them was great enough that you could watch any one of them and still stay caught up with what was going in in the WWF and as a result, almost all of them had substantial audiences. Raw changed that -- it became that If you wanted to really catch all the good stuff and stay caught up, you had to watch Raw. The consequence of that though was that any other first run show they produce now is not distinguishable from Raw in anything but a superficial sense -- the PPVs and Smackdown are just a Raw of a different color. The minor shows are not crucial to watch to stay caught up with the main story lines that culminate at the PPVs, they are ancillary to the main product and none of them have substantial audiences.

    So I guess my question is -- is it even possible to replace Raw aside from making superficial changes if the show ever needs to be cancelled? Will wrestling itself die with the format, because there is really no better way to express what wrestling is?

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  16. As far as the idea of TNA threatening Raw on Monday nights, I think it is importan to note what was going on in the ratings when Nitro debuted.

    In 1995, WCWs flagship show Saturday Night typically did a rating between the low to mid 2s and Raw typically a rating in the low 3s. When Nitro debuted it immediately took a chunk out of Raw's audience, but it also brought a substantial portion of WCW fans that watched on Saturday to Monday night too. That's the challenge for TNA I think -- the WWE has to be in striking distance first of all, TNA has to convert a large portion of their own core audience, and they have to have a program that WWE fans will switch over to. I think the viewer apathy of WWE fans might make that one the easiest, but the other two are still a pretty tall order.

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  17. Why wouldnt WWE get respectable ad rates? That's the whole point behind the PG era.

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  18. Worst_in_the_WorldOctober 24, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    TNA's creative direction is a complete mess once again, and their ratings are nosediving week to week. I seriously doubt Spike is hankering to add more TNA programming right now, and I also don't think the answer is to once again go up against WWE Raw.

    And yes, WWE ratings are nosediving too and their creative has major problems, so I'm not trying to cheerlead for them. But TNA needs to worry about getting their own house in order and getting their own ratings back up before they worry about what WWE is doing.

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  19. Worst_in_the_WorldOctober 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Because the rights fees they get for the TV shows is a huge percentage of their yearly revenue. Way more dollars than PPV money.

    And basically, all their revenue streams come out of the health of the TV show.
    Higher ratings = higher rights fee contracts
    Higher ratings = more people who know about the DVDs, clothes, PPVs and live event tickets that they're selling

    And plus, I definitely think (like any show) there is a ratings mark where they can get cancelled. Pro wrestling is cheap programming compared to sitcoms or action dramas, but it's not cheap programming compared to most of the shit on cable TV. (Clip shows like The Soup, Nazi documentaries on History Channel, Honey Boo Boo etc). If ratings dip below a certain point, they absolutely run the risk of getting cancelled from USA, especially since USA has a higher ratings bar than most TV networks. And if that happens, not only does it affect their rights fee money but then they'll be forced to move to a lower profile TV home (let's say Spike) where their reach becomes smaller, and that fucks over every other revenue stream they have.

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  20. Because PG era or not wrestling is still thought of as trash programming for low-income, low-educated households. The hard demographics continue to bear that out. Marketing to kids isn't going to help matters.


    When was the last time you saw a Coke ad on Raw? Or a Budweiser ad? Or any kind of car ad?

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  21. Actually, they do a few taped Raws a year. The Raws from the UK are taped. The Raw the week after Punk's promo was taped. They also taped the go-home Raw for HIAC 2010 and did a live Smackdown that Friday.

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  22. Is that why John Cena has been in a million Subway ads? Because only poor idiots eat at Subway?

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