NXT tops AEW in viewers, Fyter Fest finishes sixth in the demo

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/02/nxt-tops-aew-in-viewers-fyter-fest-finishes-sixth-in-the-demo/

Photo courtesy: AEW

With AEW and NXT loading up their shows this week with Fyter Fest and the Great American Bash, it was NXT with the higher viewership but AEW winning the night in the key demographic.

AEW had a strong rebound after last week’s dismal performance hitting their lowest viewership and 18-49 demographic rating in the show’s history. This week they attracted 748,000 viewers and 0.29 in the key demographic. This represents increases of 18% and 32% respectively.

For the night, AEW finished sixth among all cable programs. AEW trailed Challenge: Total Madness on MTV and four cable news programs.

The viewership total would be AEW’s third-highest since April 1st trailing episodes of Dynamite on May 27th (following Double or Nothing), and June 17th.

NXT’s Great American Bash special that promoted limited commercial interruptions (saved for the second hour of the show) averaged 792,000 viewers and 0.22 in the 18-49 demo. They were up 0.8% in viewers from last week and would be NXT’s second-highest viewership average in 2020.

In the demo rating, they did 0.22, representing an increase of 16% this week and were 13th for the night among cable programs.

AEW saw big increases across the board in the demographics as a rebound from last week’s figures. Females 12-34 led the way with a 37.5% increase, females 18-49 improved by 33%, and the main 18-49 demo was up 32%.

It was back to the usual pattern where AEW won all the key demos except for adults over 50, where NXT owned that category with a 0.40 to AEW’s 0.29.

NXT had a big increase among males 18-49 with a 26% increase, and adults 25-54 were up 18% this week. The big loss was among females 12-34 which dropped by 20%, which was a demo they beat AEW in last week.

Next week will feature night two of Fyter Fest and the Great American Bash. AEW lost its big title match between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage, which has been delayed until July 15th while NXT is heavily pushing the “Winner Take All” match between Adam Cole and Keith Lee.

On July 15th, AEW and NXT will also face competition from UFC with a live Fight Night card on ESPN from Abu Dhabi.

Here is a breakdown of the key demos from Wednesday:

ADULTS 18-49
AEW: 0.29 (+32%)
NXT: 0.22 (+16%)

FEMALES 18-49
AEW: 0.20 (+33%)
NXT: 0.15 (-)

MALES 18-49
AEW: 0.37 (+28%)
NXT: 0.29 (+26%)

ADULTS 18-34

AEW: 0.15 (+25%)
NXT: 0.10 (-)

FEMALES 12-34
AEW: 0.11 (+37.5%)
NXT: 0.08 (-20%)

MALES 12-34
AEW: 0.17 (+42%)
NXT: 0.12 (-8%)

ADULTS 25-54
AEW: 0.33 (+22%)
NXT: 0.26 (+18%)

ADULTS 50+
AEW: 0.29 (+11.5%)
NXT: 0.40 (-5%)

NXT wins two in a row. Do we have to deduce that Sasha Banks attracts more viewers ?

She attracts me

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Sasha v. Io was the best match advertised for either show in my opinion and Sasha is currently seen by more people than anyone on AEW so no doubt she played a big part. I think they planned for Charlotte to have a similar affect on ratings but I don’t think they’ve realised that their booking is dumb when it comes to Charlotte.

Good increase for both. Probably most encouraging is that the combined audience for both shows continues to get closer and closer to RAW viewership numbers

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Love Jericho trash talking on Twitter. Good news for both shows, good for NXT 18-49 getting to #13

That is clutching at straws.

“That is clutching at straws.”

…How so?

Jericho is coming off as desperate. Even if it’s a work, I’m not sure what good it does him.

Okay. So let’s start off with benchmarking the combined viewership against a programme that itself is experiencing record lows. Hardly an inspiring target.

Next, both AEW and NXT are flirting with record low audiences. Rather than growing their audiences, both have seen their audiences decline and this is during a period where they have had less competition from other sports and entertainment and pretty much a captive potential audience due to lockdowns.

I would define this as a failure rather than framing it as success.

I’m a wrestling fan. I want wrestling to prosper. But the current presentation is killing wrestling and hard core fans excusing and ignoring this because they like their little gymnastics matches are complicit in it’s death.

I disagree with your assessment. The ratings plus DVR seem to have kept steady. In a time period where people don’t have work it is much easier to watch things on delay. I get it you don’t like modern wrestling but I would argue that it better serves its purpose than 80s wrestling would today. Today’s viewers are spoiled for choice when it comes to programming. I don’t think the modern product is perfect, but I think assuming that the attitude era would still draw 10 million live views is a stretch.

10 million live, no. More than 1.6 million live, absolutely.

You have no evidence to support that claim though. My argument is that it would draw similar to what we have now.

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The evidence is average audiences haven’t declined 80%+!

What evidence you have no modern equivalent of that style maintaining ratings. You have evidence that wrestling has lost viewers. You attribute that to the “flippy presentation.” and postulate that if the type of wrestling you enjoy was around it would be doing significantly better. There is no evidence for either of those claims.

I would argue that much more of the drop is attributable to the general crash in TV ratings, WWE refusing to create stars (selling the brand not the characters.), and way more options for peoples viewing attention.

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How about you both @Bdubz and @Breng77 agree that there are a lot of factors than you are both listing contributing to the low ratings.

In no order:

  1. The diversification of the overall tv watching audience.
  2. Over saturation of WWE’s product.
  3. More available alternatives for wrestling than ever.
  4. Lack of big stars. Especially during the pandemic where only a partial roster is available.
  5. A focus on a type of style that not everyone will enjoy.
  6. Characters that may push some people away.
  7. Poor presentation of empty arena shows.
  8. Bad PR of WWE’s behavior during COVID-19 and other recent controversies (not cancelling WM earlier, Saudi, etc.

And probably other reasons I’m not even thinking of.

There is not one single solution that is going to significantly change the ratings. It would need to be 20 solutions being implemented by WWE and the entire wrestling world.

And even that might not work because there are wrestling fans ingrained in their ways that will only search out the specific style or type of characters they want.

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Top show in 2000, ER averaged 25.5M viewers.

Top show in 2020, NCIS averaged 15M viewers.

Do I think there’s criticisms of the wrestling products that are real? Sure. Do I think the assessment of how high their numbers would be if everything was perfect with the product is overstated? Yeah. It’s a different TV world than it was 20 years ago. Hell it’s a different TV world than it was 6 months ago.

On specifically a Wednesday front, I think it’s a far more difficult to build audiences when there’s immediately competition before either one gets any momentum, especially when it’s a situation where so many have drawn lines. They also had their legs cut out as new brands with first a bad holiday schedule and then a pandemic. You can’t just say there’s no competition because there’s a lack of sports (though even that’s changed coinciding with some drops for NXT/AEW), because there’s other competition- like news all over the board is at record highs https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2020-03-25/tv-news-audiences-are-surging-thanks-to-coronavirus-pandemic .

Case in point, even in the best of times it takes a while to build most TV products, let alone ones that still don’t have years of star making on screens behind them yet. I think eyeing the charts as a whole each week is instructive…but I also think making large claims, whether positive or negative, about any of these shows during what’s going on, and especially in any short period of time with limited sample size, is flawed.

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So at what point will any of you acknowledge the decline in ratings is primarily due to presenting a product that nobody but hardcore indy fans are interested in?

Raw - 1.5 million? 1.4 million? 1.3 million? What is the magic number?

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I’d argue hardcore wrestling fans aren’t even watching Monday’s or Friday’s. I still consider that the habitual viewers who throw it on. Got a buddy I consider in that bucket who asks me things about Raw and I tell him I haven’t watched an episode in weeks.

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“Hardcore indie fans” aren’t watching WWE TV for the most part. Most of them are severed by many other services that cater to them, allow them to watch actual wrestling they enjoy.

More indie fans watch AEW, simply because they probably appreciate seeing talent they’ve supported over the years being given a chance to shine on a large platform, continuing to do what go them there.
Whereas once a guy is in the WWE system, you watch guys being molded to what their vision is for the talent.

Many WWE viewers will watch very little else.

Also, the numbers likely reflect the industry leader continually telling their audience that nothing will ever be better than small timeframe that existed 20 years ago.

Anybody who has paid attention for the last decade could see that WWE wasn’t creating stars, and actively worked against anybody getting over organically. How much energy should / can people give to something that clearly doesn’t reward their viewership.

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