AEW finishes third on cable but experiences several big declines

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/17/aew-finishes-third-on-cable-but-experience-several-big-declines/

After two gigantic weeks for AEW Dynamite, the program saw a significant drop this week while still finishing third among cable programs.

Wednesday’s live episode of Dynamite averaged 806,000 viewers with a 0.32 rating in the 18-49 demographic, figures that were down 19 and 29 percent respectively.

To assess where AEW stands compared to its programming prior to “Winter is Coming”, the show averaged 774,000 viewers and a 0.31 in the 18-49 demo in October, and 760,000 viewers with a 0.31 demo rating in November.

The demographic numbers for AEW didn’t paint a great picture as adults 18-34 dropped 48 percent this week (its lowest in that category since November 11th), men 12-34 were down 56 percent and its female audience dropped 35 percent with women 18-49 and 45.5 with 12-34s.

Each key demo was down double digits except for adults over the age of 50, which grew 3 percent.

The closest category between RAW and AEW this week was among men 18-49 with RAW registering a 0.46 and AEW at 0.43.

In Canada, AEW averaged 120,000 viewers on TSN 2 and was the #1 sports program in Canada, although the competition was minimal. The second-most-watched sports program was a UFC replay with 40,200 viewers and a 2016 World Cup of Hockey game between Canada and Finland with 38,400 viewers.

The Canadian number was strong considering “Winter is Coming” did 108,500 earlier this month and was heavily hyped.

For NXT, the show finished 34th among cable programs with a 16 percent increase in viewership and 12 percent uptick in the 18-49 demographic. The show averaged 766,000 viewers with a 0.19 rating in the demo.

Even though NXT fell 7 percent among men 12-34, they topped AEW with a 0.13 to a 0.11. As usual, NXT won among adults over 50 and lost the other key demos.

In overall viewership, it was NXT’s best performance since Halloween Havoc on October 25th and the highest demo figure since November 25th.

Here is a breakdown of the key demos and comparisons from last week:

Source: Showbuzz Daily

ADULTS 18-49

AEW: 0.32 (-29 percent)
NXT: 0.19 (+12 percent)

FEMALES 18-49
AEW: 0.22 (-35 percent)
NXT: 0.14 (+17 percent)

MALES 18-49
AEW: 0.43 (-24.5 percent)
NXT: 0.25 (+14 percent)

ADULTS 18-34
AEW: 0.15 (-48 percent)
NXT: 0.07 (-22 percent)

FEMALES 12-34
AEW: 0.12 (-45.5 percent)
NXT: 0.06 (+20 percent)

MALES 12-34
AEW: 0.11 (-56 percent)
NXT: 0.13 (-7 percent)

ADULTS 25-54
AEW: 0.38 (-22 percent)
NXT: 0.23 (+21 percent)

ADULTS 50+
AEW: 0.30 (+3 percent)
NXT: 0.37 (+6 percent)

It would’ve been unrealistic to think the numbers from the previous 2 weeks were now the default level for AEW (unless you decided to completely disregard context which some stupidly did) but those are still some big drops. Was expecting a decline in viewership but still above 900k.

As for NXT, it’s good for wrestling that they got a slight increase as it’s the only show focusing on fresh talent and great wrestling which isn’t comical. Hope that trend continues but it’s difficult to get casuals into real wrestling unfortunately. More Oreilly is good for business.

Of course everyone has their own opinion and can like whatever they like. That being said, this company is overrated as hell. The women’s division is an absolute garbage fire where the champion isn’t featured on dynamite. The tag team matches our spot fest circus shows with no psychology and no tagging. The top guys are really good I can’t deny that, but you get very little promo time from anybody else. I don’t get it, again just my opinion. I thought last nights show was terrible. Stephanie and Hunter have nothing on Cody and his wife.

3 Likes

Not surprising, as there wasn’t really anything big promoted.

Not using/having nothing for Moxley to do is also a factor. The guy is a ratings draw for AEW

2 Likes

So if we consider last night’s episode as “back to normal,” it’s about a 6-7% gain and 50K retention from the Mox/Omega and Sting bump. Pretty good if it holds, though I don’t know what’s in the hopper to do something that big again in a few months.

Well that’s making chicken salad out of chicken shit. At what point is anyone going to acknowledge AEW is treading water? They have not evidenced that they can grow their audience. So either they maintain it (which is entirely possible in the short to medium term given their hardcore base) or this is the base line which declines over time.

Not trying to get into a debate - but I’d put this out for all televised wrestling out there…

I think most are treading water / gaining small growths here and there, until they are in front of crowds again.

I think most current wrestling is tough to watch without a proper audience (my taste leans to AEW’s makeshift presentation, as I am sure you can tell).

I feel AEW was poised for a big run right before the shut down. With several huge upcoming shows in hot markets - (specifically the scheduled March 25th New Jersey “Blood and Guts” show, that had sold a ridiculous amount of tickets) - I really think that would have lead to a growth in viewership…

In this current era - there is absolutely no shame in any company maintaining a fan base. Considering they have proven time and time again that their supporters won’t only watch them - but also spend money on their products, I feel that is a good base to work with.

Again, I think a combination of things will allow them to grow beyond their current limit. A.) Pandemic getting under control, and being allowed to run shows in front of live audiences again. B.) Eventually USA moves NXT or TNT moves Dynamite - and the silly head-to-head ends, and both see an growth in their audience. (Personally, if Raw’s numbers keep dropping, I can’t imagine they’ll be too happy giving two additional hours per week to NXT in a position where they’re simply being used as a tool to slow AEW’s group).

5 Likes

I’d challenge that:
We got promos from: The Acclaimed, Top Flight, Inner Circle, Best Friends, Dustin, Cody, Miro, Team Tazz, Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa last night. Plus Kenny and Callis. And a video for Jurassic Express.

Previous week: Dark Order, FTR, Bucks, Hybrid 2, Shida, come to mind.

Respectfully, who isn’t getting promo time you want to get promo time?

I agree about Shida and the women’s division being a weird mishmosh. I don’t hate the talent there but it’s definitely poorly constructed

Also on growth, taking market share is good in business. Wrestling has a TAM(total addressable market). Somebody argue that AEW isn’t taking market share or at least penetrating market share of WWE? Wrestling’s TAM may not grow but within the existing space AEW has proven they can acquire and share the addressable market. That’s worth as much as growing the TAMP for a start up.

3 Likes

I strongly feel that this is something completely underrated by hardcore fans, as I think we a have tendency viewing things in our little bubble. Sure a lot of the hardcores may not care, but to the average viewer flipping through the channels, I just can’t see anyone stopping on wrestling right now when it’s being filmed in empty or 90% empty arenas. Wrestling is a presentation that thrives with fans, almost all my fondest memories as a child/teen revolve around something that involves the fans going crazy. Imagine the Hogan heel turn with no fans. Imagine Austin stunning Vince for the first time with no fans, it would just not have the same effect.

I think that any of these shows just staying a float during these times is a huge win.

3 Likes

Exactly.

I also think besides the pops for debuts like Sting, Brodie (which would have been in his hometown), Hardy, and others - you’re missing out on reactions from crowds making guys feel like huge stars.

I honestly believe that Adam Page is going to be a rockstar once crowds are back, and be the top Babyface in the company within months.

I’m assuming they’re saving a Wardlow turn on MJF until they can have an audience react to it live.

This extends to WWE too. Nobody knows who is really over right now because there is literally no organic fan reaction. At least AEW right now has a small crowd to guage. WWE has coached web cams.

Once crowds are back, everything will come across as a bigger deal, and people will be more likely to tune in.

1 Like

I like the reasoned discussion in this thread about viewership declining for wrestling in general. For some reason it was different in the Raw thread… :eyes:

For Raw, I 100% believe that the pandemic has hurt it. If you look at the overall drop from March to today, I think a lot of it is pandemic related, especially since Raw counts on casuals more than dynamite.

Now if we are talking week to week, I think the drop offs are likely due to numerous factors including show quality and competition. Some look at these thing too black and white, it’s never one reason.

I honestly feel the pandemic just sped up the decline of Raw viewership.

I do believe that people will tune in again post-pandemic, however I do believe a certain segment of fans will be happy getting their wrestling / WWE fix another night of the week, Wednesday or Friday.

I have said elsewhere, following WWE to a new fan must seem like an intimidating task. So if people pick and choose, I’m assuming it’ll be one of the two hour shows vs the slog of a Monday night.

And not making this an AEW vs WWE thing… In terms of strictly WWE / and more specifically RAW - I think fans have caught on to every known WWE attempt at a quick fix:. Vince and family on TV, Attitude Era legends (usually showing up at the expense of current era roster talent), random big Championship matches. And then there are the countless abandoned ideas to try and refresh the show… RAW Underground, no commercial breaks during matches leading to that weird stretch of 2/3 falls matches, and match restarts, NXT call-ups with no plans, etc.

Thanks for reminding me of the genius idea they had of getting around commercials during matches… might’ve been Vince’s dumbest idea. Didn’t fix anything and instead ruined every match. Trying to decide if it was worse than having a laptop as a GM.

I seem to remember us (the wwe universe) becoming the authority. We haven’t done a good job

2 Likes

Piece of advice, dont watch any WWE product live. I tivo everything, so where commercials are placed mean nothing to me as I just fast forward through them in like 10 seconds. Makes no difference when you do it that way.