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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where Did The 739,000 Fans Go?

My first reaction upon hearing the news that Impact had scored a lowly .5 Nielsen rating this past week was, "Ugg! I wouldn't want to be at TNA's Nashville headquarters about now!" But when I learned that Raw had done the same 3.1 it did last week when Impact scored a 1.0, it made me think about the overall state of wrestling: I could somewhat understand Impact losing 739,000 viewers to Raw; Raw had a three-hour "Draft" special, while Impact was offering a taped broadcast. Just as the stars were aligned to give Impact a relatively good rating a week ago, the opposite was true this week.

If Impact had stolen viewers from Raw with a strong, live show a week ago, looking at the .5 could have lead one to believe that Raw recouped its losses this week. That wasn't the case, however. Impact lost half its viewers and Raw did not pick them up! My question is, where did these fans go?

Unless somebody started the NFL season without telling me, I can't think of a single reason why there would be a 12 percent loss in the total wrestling audience one week (6,106,000-5,267,000). Why such a major overall drop-off?

I'd like to tell you that I know the answer, but I don't. Maybe you have some suggestions you'd like to share. And while you're at it, can you tell me how, coming off such a hot show, Impact managed to lose half its audience? I know it was taped and people have easy access to the results, but that can't explain such a steep decline, can it?

One further note: TNA might have to get used to the possibility that the 739,000 fans who viewed Impact on Monday night is their viewership baseline. Before Impact was slotted on Monday nights, I believed that the 1.2 rating Impact was averaging on Thursday nights was a given, and I'm pretty sure that TNA management felt the same way. Now we can surmise that a good chunk of that Thursday audience was comprised of people who merely like to watch wrestling and were not necessarily TNA loyalists. TNA had a good thing going as the only wrestling show televised on Thursday night. Its audience was consistent in the 1.2/1.3 range and there was no discussion over which shows were taped and which were live.

I know it would be a blow to certain people in the organization with mega egos, but it might be worth TNA considering throwing in the towel on Monday nights. If they need to save face, they can always spin it that they are moving as a service to its fans with Monday Night Football quickly approaching.

Stu Saks/Publisher


"Handsome" Dan said...

Is it possible that TNA actually drove away those 739,000 fans from a week ago?

Let me just say, I LOVE the fact that TNA exists and the proverbial "foot in the door" they've got with a prime time slot on a popular cable channel and some significant financial backing.

What I DON'T love about TNA are the people in charge. Just like with WCW, there's an opportunity for something special here but that potential will most likely never be realized because the one's calling the shots are more interested in getting their cut and getting their mug on camera as often as possible in order to set themselves up for their next big payday.

But I digress, some might accuse me of being a TNA "hater" or a WWE "fanboy" and I am NOT. I am a WRESTLING fan. And frankly, wrestling's just not very good right now.

On one channel, you've got mostly over-the-hill guys pimping out pay-per-view worthy main events that feature so-so action with little depth of storyline. Mostly it's "You suck!" "No, you suck!" "That does it, I'm gonna kick your [insert go-to expletive]!" I submit that fans who might be lured by name recognition realize there's just not much going on here and can take it or leave it. Hence, major drop-offs in viewership from week-to-week.

The WWE's viewership is a little more consistent because they're not hot-shotting. They're trying to build a consistent fan base through steady story-telling (which isn't great but it's a little more fluid than what TNA is offering). However, they too, seem to have reached a bit of a plateau because although fans may grow to care a little more about the characters, when it comes time for the action, the grown-ups in the crowd (most of them anyway) realize, this is mostly kid-stuff.

So, to summarize, you can't draw today's fans with "wrestling." That .5 for TNA? THAT'S your "loyal" fanbase. THAT'S your "smartmarks" like yours truly who are going to be there week-in and week-out. The casual viewer, you're going to have to work a little harder to hook. Apparently just throwing together some "rasslin'" matches ain't enough. They'd rather watch (pardon my sacrilege) the "real" thing on UFC.

Louie Dee said...

A lot of people (myself included) thought TNA moving to Mondays would be the thing to kickstart the "boom" again.

Unfortunately, until TNA goes live every week, that'll never happen and this .5 is proof.

Hell, AM Raw did a .44.

It's funny Stu - a friend of mine found the ratings from April 24, 2000 (roughly 10 years ago). RAW did a 7.1 and Nitro did a 3.0, for a total of 10.1.

Now, I know ratings points are worth more now than they were in 2000 - but even if they're doubled now, the Raw/Impact combo is still only 2/3 of what it was 10 years ago.

Yet now, one of Raw's biggest shows of the year is drawing ratings equal to the dying days of Nitro, while Impact (which many people compare to dying WCW) can barely draw 1/3 of that.

A weird phenomenon.

-Louie Dee
Contributing Writer

Louie Dee said...

One thing I forgot to mention - the Impact replay did a .69.

Even if you combine the two ratings and assume that every single Thursday viewer was new, that's still a 1.2 total.

And WWE Superstars still did better (.76).