You remember the WWE Network? It's still supposedly a thing, except for the lack of any logistical planning or things like that.
But I found this story through PWInsider that says WWE has done its research, and the numbers are...interesting, to say the least.
A couple things here.Are people getting enough pro wrestling on television these days? World Wrestling Entertainment doesn’t think so, and at the very least entertains dreams of launching its own channel.
According to an SNL Kagan report, WWE has done its homework, and thinks it has the potential to be of interest to fully half of America’s TV households. That is about 57 million homes for those of you keeping score at home.
WWE says that about 20% of that group, 12 million or so, are hard core fans who know the wrestlers, are on top of what’s going on and watch regularly on the channels that show it – prominently including USA, ION and SyFy, among others.
40% are casual fans – they’ll watch on occasion, but are not heavily invested in the programming.
The other 40% are what WWE thinks of as lapsed fans – they used to watch some wrestling but have not done so for a period of time, and perhaps could be coaxed back.
Other sports have had to answer questions about whether or not there is an audience for around-the-clock programming dedicated entirely to their product, and the answer, they believe, is yes there is.
The theory is that the availability of content builds the appetite for even more – and WWE cites the NFL’s dedicated channel as an example.
In addition to the steady production of new material, the company says it has 100,000 hours worth of material in its archives, ready to be polished up and put out there for new usage.
The dream to get a 24-hour channel together most likely will not be fulfilled by creation of another basic service. According to SNL, MVPDs are not anxious to add any more consent fees to their overhead. So if the WWE dream is to come true, expect some form of pay service as the vehicle of choice.
1. WWE thinks it appeals to half the households in America. Oh boy, we're off to one hell of a start here.
2. WWE thinks their product has 12 million households with "hardcore fans" that regularly watch their programming. Let's assume for a second that every person who watches WWE programming watches one show per week. (i.e. Nobody watches both Raw and Smackdown). I'm pretty sure if you added together their best week of ratings this year, it still doesn't add up to that. Actually, looking back, pretty sure Raw 1000 was the highest rated Raw of the year. Even that week, Raw and Smackdown combined only had about 9 million people. Maybe if you add in all of the ancillary shows, they get to 11. Maybe. And that's their best week of the year.
3. WWE has 24 million households with casual fans that watch every so often. It's a shame none of those people seem to have Nielsen boxes.
4. WWE is using the NFL Network as the inspiration for this. Holy shit, is that a bad sign. First off, the NFL is the absolute biggest thing going. It's like me saying "Hey, Walmart's pretty successful, I'm going to open my own department store!" The reason the NFL Network is successful is because people can not get enough NFL coverage.
Having said all this, I believe the WWE Network can be a moderate success. But if this is what WWE expects out of the Network ratings wise, then, one, they're doing an awful job preparing for it, and two, they are going to be very disappointed.
(Also, for those of you wondering, SNL Kagan is a media and communications firm that specializes in this type of market research.)