WWE Raw ratings are showing no signs of stopping their downward trend in the fallout from WrestleMania 32.
If you followed The Inquisitr‘s last report post-WrestleMania 32, you know that Raw was down by 1 million viewers from the same time last year.
While the 4.09 million viewer average was up from previous episodes in the weeks leading to the April 4 show (Mania was on April 3), the year-to-year drop from 2014 and 2015, both of which averaged more than 5 million viewers, was significant.
Now with the April 11 figures report, it appears that WWE Raw ratings are down again in a straight year-to-year comparison.
— John Canton (@johnreport) April 13, 2016
Last Row Media reports that WWE Raw ratings for this past Monday night clocked in at just 3.529 million viewers as an average across all three hours of programming.
The most direct comparison for 2015 would be the April 13 edition, which pulled in 3.665 million viewers, making the total audience-bleed from year-to-year 136,000.
WrestleView provided further insight into the breakdown noting that the first hour “drew 3.474 million viewers, the second hour saw a bump up to 3.687 million viewers and the third hour closed out the night dropping back down to 3.427 million viewers.”
“Despite the drop in viewers,” writes WV‘s Adam Martin, “RAW ended up as the No. 2 show on cable on Monday night. Next week’s show will be pre-taped from London and could see another drop in the overall TV audience.”
While Martin was able to find the silver lining in these figures, it does not blot out the fact that WWE Raw ratings have been trending downward in the wake of Roman Reigns’ WrestleMania 32 push.
Furthermore, the company as a whole has seen their television viewership drop considerably over the last 20 years since it acquired WCW and became the only global TV promotion.
During the historic “Monday Night Wars” with WCW, WWE Raw ratings at one point hit 7.1, almost triple this week’s 2.5.
To combat some of this fallout, the company launched a digital streaming subscription service for $9.99 per month two years ago and increased its push into global markets.
Vince McMahon and Company have also cut costs with layoffs and growing talent in-house instead of dropping large spends on established workers as it and competitor WCW were known to do back in the 1990s.
One strategy that appears to be working is the WWE Network. In the first year, execs claimed, they would need 1 million paying subscribers to make it viable. While initial results hovered only at 600,000, the strategy to grow the base with free trials and hope they stuck around has not been as appreciated by cable providers, which once saw in the company a valuable pay-per-view client.
Since the WWE Network makes PPVs (now called “special events”) part of the benefit to subscribing, it has cannibalized traditional PPV sales.
Still, with its latest earnings report, WWE announced that it had reached a subscriber count of 1.45 million paid (1.824 million total, which includes those taking advantage of the free trial).
That’s well beyond what was needed to make the WWE Network profitable, at least in the early days. There were no indications in the report how much that number has been adjusted in the last two years, especially in light of the company’s aggressive move into international markets.
Nor did WWE Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios, who hosted the conference call for that report, indicate how many of the 1.45 million paid subscribers were from those markets.
— PWMania.com (@PWMania) April 5, 2016
The WWE Raw ratings struggle, however, has the potential to be a long-term problem. If it continues to lose viewers, the company will have less leverage to negotiate terms with the USA Network, who in turn may not even want to keep the show if it continues the downward spiral.
With that visibility being a huge asset in growing the WWE brand, it’s not clear how that might affect future growth.
What do you think, readers?
Should there be concern for the falling WWE Raw ratings, and what do you think is causing it? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via WWE]