WWE Smackdown draws 2.3M viewers post-Thanksgiving

November 30, 2019

WWE’s Smackdown on Friday night drew 2.3M viewers for its two hour time slot on Fox the day after Thanksgiving.  The telecast was down over last week and share the A18-49 demo top spot with Frosty the Snowman on ABC.

Smackdown drew 2.350M viewers in the first hour and 2.322 million viewers in the second hour.  The drop-off from the first to second hour was negligible.

Smackdown Ratings

10.04 3,880,000
10.11 2,877,000
10.18 2,418,000
10.25 888,000
11.01 2,605,000
11.08 2,725,000
11.15 2,445,000

11.22               2,600,000

11.29               2.350,000


WWE Smackdown draws 2.60 million viewers

November 23, 2019

WWE Smackdown on Fox drew 2.60 million viewers for its two hour slot Friday night on the network.  The telecast saw an uptick in viewership after its lowest dip last week.

WWE Smackdown’s first hour drew 2.701 million viewers with a 0.8 rating in the A18-49 demo.  It’s second hour drew 2.5 million viewers although it held its 0.8 rating in the second hour.

Smackdown Ratings

10.04 3,880,000
10.11 2,877,000
10.18 2,418,000
10.25 888,000
11.01 2,605,000
11.08 2,725,000
11.15 2,445,000
11.22 2,600,000

Payout Perspective:

While its not the best news, one would have expected the ratings to go up from its Fox low (its previous low was on FS1 opposite the World Series on Fox).  With a big event coming up this weekend, one had to expect the ratings to go up.  Still, WWE Smackdown is behind ABC, NBC and CBS in viewership but WWE still holds a grasp of the A18-49 demo for the night.

WWE NXT edges out AEW for first time in head-to-head

November 21, 2019

WWE NXT on the USA Network edged out AEW on TNT for the first time in its head-to-head battle on Wednesday night.  AEW still won the overall battle in most demos with the exception of the over 50 demographic.

WWE on NXT drew 916,000 viewers while AEW drew 893,000 viewers.  The A18-49 demo was close with AEW still ahead of NXT 0.39 to 0.30.


AEW Overall A18-49 A18-49 # M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,409,000 0.68 878,000 0.92 0.74 0.34
Week 2 1,018,000 0.60 594,000 0.66 0.52 0.30
Week 3 1,014,000 0.63 574,000 0.65 0.50 0.33
Week 4 963,000 0.45 586,000 0.62 0.46 0.25
Week 5 759,000 0.33 433,000 0.48 0.38 0.25
Week 6 822,000 0.35 450,000 0.46 0.38 0.28
Week 7 957,000 0.43 554,000 0.55 0.45 0.29
Week 8 893,000 0.39   0.52 0.42 0.29



NXT Overall A18-49 M18-49 P25-54 P50+
Week 1 1,179,000 0.43 0.56 0.48 0.47
Week 2 1,006,000 0.32 0.40 0.37 0.48
Week 3 891,000 0.32 0.41 0.36 0.36
Week 4 790,000 0.22 0.29 0.27 0.40
Week 5 712,000 0.20 0.27 0.24 0.35
Week 6 698,000 0.21 0.23 0.26 0.33
Week 7 580,000 0.18 0.23 0.22 0.29
Week 8 813,000 0.30 0.38 0.34 0.34
Week 9 750,000 0.25 0.32 0.29 0.35
Week 10 916,000 0.30 0.39 0.35 0.40



*Data from Nielsen via ShowBuzz Daily

Payout Perspective:

Good news for WWE although it had to recruit its “main roster” talent as it promoted its PPV this weekend.  Yet, NXT has been closing in on surpassing AEW.  The demos are worth looking at as AEW is still popular among the younger demo which is something that the WWE highlights with its Smackdown rating.

WWE Smackdown finds new low

November 16, 2019

WWE Friday Night Smackdown ratings fell once again to 2.445 million viewers in the first hour and 2.255 million viewers in the second.  Also, the viewership for the A18-49 fell to 0.7 which tied with CBS’s Hawaii Five-O.

The ratings are the lowest for the series since its debut on Fox.  It drew a 4 share overall and a 5 share in the Men 18-49 demo.  The numbers are disappointing and once again fall behind the other 3 networks in overall viewership and ratings.

The new low comes the same week that the WWE and Fox stated that they were pleased with the partnership at an industry conference.

Fox, WWE bullish over SmackDown start on network

November 14, 2019

Speaking at an industry conference this week, Fox and the WWE are pleased with the ratings.  The feeling from the parties is that “Friday Night SmackDown” “reaches a much broader audience than many people realize.

Despite the fact that the overall ratings have trended down and usually third in networks ratings behind CBS, ABC and NBC, its pull of the adult 18-49 demo has proven to be a success.  At the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology Conference, Fox Sports CEO & Executive Producer and WWE co-President Michelle Wilson offered a joint talk about the partnership.

Wilson noted that “35-50% of the viewing audience are women” and its “multi-generational.”  Shanks and Wilson indicated that they wanted SmackDown to move Friday as a way to position the network for “owning the weekend.”  One of the obstacles, WWE is realizing is securing venues on Fridays since it is competing with NBA and NHL dates in most cities.

Shanks also noted that Vince McMahon has been receptive to new ways to shoot SmackDown.

While the cynical may see the comments as a way to promote the show at an industry conference with overlooking the decline in ratings week-to-week, the fact it is securing the A18-49 demo is all that seems to matter here.

Friday Night Smackdown on Fox draws 2.62M viewer average

November 9, 2019

Friday Night Smackdown on Fox drew an average of 2.62 million viewers over the two hour telecast according to Nielsen.  The ratings per hour showed a slight increase over last week.

WWE’s show drew 0.8 in the A18-49 demo and a 5 share which led the networks for the night.  Overall, Hawaii Five-O on CBS won the 8-9pm time slot with 7.05 million viewers and Magnum P.I. on CBS won the 9-10pm time slot with 6.65 million viewers.

Broken down per hours Smackdown’s first hour drew 2.725 million viewers and 2.510 million in the second hour.

Payout Perspective:

Some promising numbers for the WWE as its first hour was solid although it saw a loss of viewers going into its second hour.  The CBS lineup is very solid and has dedicated viewers between 8-10pm regardless of whether or not the shows are reruns.  But, the WWE is still winning the A18-49 demo for both hours.

Friday Night Smackdown draws 2.52M in its return to Fox

November 4, 2019

Friday Night Smackdown returned to Fox on Friday night and drew 2.52 million viewers according to Television By Numbers.

The WWE was on FS1 last Friday due to the World Series.  It returned to the network although most of the talent scheduled to appear on Friday night were still in Saudi Arabia due to an unknown issue.  Instead, NXT talent appeared on the show.

The 2-hour show drew a 0.8 rating in the A18-49 demo and a 5 share.  Smackdown trailed CBS, ABC and NBC.  Notably, Hawaii Five-O on CBS drew 7.13 million viewers.  Yet, Smackdown led the networks with a 0.8 rating and a 5 share.

Payout Perspective:

Smackdown did better than last week on FS1 but its overall ratings are still decreasing week to week since its debut on Fox.  Yet, the bright line for WWE is that it still does well with the key 18-49 demo which should please network executives even with it trailing the top 3 networks overall.

WWE reports Q3 earnings

October 31, 2019

The WWE announced its 3rd quarter earnings for 2019 on Thursday.  The company beat analyst estimates on its projected earnings, but they are still down compared to last year.

The company announced revenues of $186.3 million in comparison to $188.4 million in 2018.  The operating income was $6.4 million with the adjusted OIBDA (Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization) being $25.4 million which exceeded expectations.

The WWE Network averaged 1.51 million paid subscribers in accordance with its guidance.

According to its summary, it appears that the increased revenue in its Media segment was offset by a decrease in sales of live event tickets and merchandise. Media net revenues are up in the three-month period for Q3 ending September 30th to $146.1M in comparison to $142.1M last year at the same time.  Conversely, live events are down from $26.7M last year to $23.2 this year.  This was attributed to lower ticket sales and weaker performance and fewer events in North America.  But International ticket sales have remained flat in comparison to this time last year staying at $2.3M.

Also, down this quarter is the Consumer Products section which was at $19.6M in 2018 but is now at $17M in 2019.

Operating Income declined to $33M from $39.3M in the prior year due to the “impact of increased content-related expenses, which were partially offset by a reduction in accrued management incentive compensation.”

The WWE Network revenue are down this year in comparison to 2018. For the third quarter in 2019, the WWE revealed revenues of $44.2M for the network versus $49.5M in 2018.

The WWE stated that in anticipation of SmackDown move to Fox, it launched a new advertising campaign.  It also highlighted the launch of NXT on the USA Network on Wednesday nights.  The WWE also announced the launching of a new weekly podcast series and a new animated feature film due out in July 2020.

As noted, the revenues for live events declined due in part to a decrease in attendance and staging 19 fewer events.  While attendance declined, the average ticket price increased by 6%$ to $56.64.

Payout Perspective:

The above rundown is a fairly broad view of the finances of the promotion.  What stood out for me is the decrease in attendance in house shows. While the late summer-early fall may not be the opportune time for live WWE events, the ticket price average is still going up. As a result of the lower attendance, venue merchandise was also down from $4.3M in 2018 to $3.5M this year.  Also, of note, consumer products were down the prior 3 months.  The WWE did announce a collaboration of action figures with Mattel to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Wrestlemania and the Ghostbusters franchise.

The WWE Network is still going strong and the licensing of its content continues to grow in revenue while other areas are not.

Today is a big day for the company as most of the talent is in Saudi Arabia for one of its big shows in the region.  Despite the politics concerning the region, the monetary value of the partnership positively impacts the WWE finances.  The company has not confirmed a media rights deal with the Middle East region or a dedicated annual (or semi-annual) event in the region which would probably aid the company’s balance sheets.




Friday Night Smackdown draws 888,000 on FS1

October 28, 2019

WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown drew 888,000 viewers on FS1 as the show was moved to the network due to the World Series on Fox.

Obviously with the move to cable, it was the lowest ratings the show has done since its move to the Fox Network.  A condensed version of the telecast also aired on Sunday on Fox after NFL Football.

The telecast drew 0.27 in the A18-49 demo and 0.41 in the M18-49 demo.

Payout Perspective:

One can throw out this low viewership rating due to the change in network and the fact it was opposite the World Series.  Yet, one can’t deny that the WWE has seen a steady decrease in viewership since its premier on Fox.  This, despite the continuous push of its programming on all of Fox’s outlets including during NFL football.

SmackDown draws 2.9M viewers in 2nd week on Fox

October 12, 2019

WWE Friday Night Smackdown drew 2.90 million viewers on Fox per Nielsen via Television By Numbers.  The ratings reflect a drop from last week’s debut.

Friday night saw a 1.0 rating in the A18-49 and a 6 share in the overall audience.

The telecast is down from last Friday’s 3.87M viewers. This week CBS ruled Friday night ratings as an episode of Hawaii Five-O drew 6.95M overall viewers in the 8-9pm time slot, Magnum, P.I. grabbed 6.43M viewers from 9-10pm and although SmackDown did not go up against it, Blue Bloods hit 7.55M viewers from 10-11pm.

Payout Perspective:

A decrease is viewership of almost 1 million viewers has to be concerning.  Yet, the telecast is strong in the 18-49 demo which is a saving grace for the promotion as it hopes that it can attract viewers.  Yet, it seems that the fall on Friday night will be ruled by CBS and its original programming.

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