The Wrestling Post – Total Divas returns to E!

January 9, 2015

In the second half of its third season, WWE Total Divas drew a season high rating average of 1.41 million viewers according to Television By Numbers.  The WWE reality show on the E! network received help from the Kardashians.

Total Divas drew a 0.7 rating while it was aided by lead-in Kourtney & Khloe Take the Hamptons which drew 1.836 million viewers and a 0.9 rating.  It was the season finale for the Kardashian show.  The show which is morphing into its own reality to the annoyance of some WWE fans is building its own audience in addition to WWE followers.

Payout Take:  Total Divas did not lose a lot of audience from the Kardashians which is an actual positive sign.  Notably, the Kardashian replay which took place after Total Divas drew 806,000 viewers for a 0.4 rating.

The Wrestling Post: 11.04.14

November 4, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition, we take a look at Total Divas ratings, a deal for Ring of Honor and WWE halts UK rollout of WWEN.

WWE Network halts UK launch

The WWE Network pulled the plug on its intended November 3rd launch in the United Kingdom because of WWE negotiations with TV operator SKY.  According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, the WWE and SKY were still in negotiations on the possibility of having the Network as a TV station as opposed to its “over the top” network offering.  At this point, the roll out of the Network is postponed indefinitely.

Payout Take:  The delay is an obvious disappointment for those in the UK although it was pointed out that many of the hardcore WWE fans in the UK likely have the network through their own ingenuity.  Still, pulling the plug from the launch is bad for short term PR.  One must think that the WWE had a deal with SKY which would have been more lucrative in the long term for it to make such a drastic change in schedule.

Triple HHH joins non-profit

Paul Levesque (aka Triple HHH) has joined the board of The Sports Legacy Institute Board of Directors.  The Institute is a non-profit dedicated to concussion education and research.  The organization was founded by former college football player and WWE wrestler Christopher Nowinski.  One might recall Nowinski from the PBS documentary, “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.”  The WWE has donated heavily to the organization as it gave SLI $1.2 milloin to fund research that could lead to potential new treatments for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Logo-Sports-Legacy-Institute2

Payout Take:  The election of Triple H comes after a recent filing by one of its former wrestlers, Billy Jack Haynes, citing that the WWE knew of the dangers of head injuries but did nothing to warn its wrestlers.  The WWE has denied the allegations set out by Haynes in the lawsuit.  As a publicly traded company, the WWE’s image is much more important and the election of Triple H to this non-profit is similar to those made by the NFL when it was sued by its former players regarding concussions.

Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) and Figures Toy Company announced a licensing agreement to develop market and manufacture a line of collectible figures and accessories based on the wrestlers and world of Ring of Honor Wrestling according to an ROH press release.  ROH is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

Payout Take: An interesting deal for the company as most, if not all, of its wrestlers is independent contractors (in the real sense and not the WWE-sense) as they take dates from other organizations.  Still, it appears that Sinclair believes that it has gained enough traction with the product to roll out action figures in time for the holiday season.  These probably will not get wide release and will only be in markets where ROH run shows.

Total Divas Season 3 (mid-season)

Last week’s Total Divas on the E! Network registered the second highest rating for Season 3 with an average viewership of 1,130,000.  Despite lower ratings, it will return with the second half of its third season in January 2015.

Through 10 episodes of the third season, it averages just over 1 million viewers.

Total Divas Season 3

Episode 1:  1,200,000

Episode 2:   974,000

Episode 3:  1,180,000

Episode 4:  999,000

Episode 5:  1,050,000

Episode 6:  888,000

Episode 7:  975,000

Episode 8:  826,000

Episode 9:  860,000

Episode10:  1,130,000

Payout Take:  Although there has been a decrease in viewership for this season, it has gone without the Kardashian lead-in most of the season.  It also has gone up against two WWE PPVs this season.  This season seems to have moved toward more storylines which have seeped into WWE programming.

Total Divas S3 halfway

Total Divas Season 3 Ep 1 posts 1.2M viewers

September 9, 2014

Television By Numbers reports that the debut of the third season of Total Divas on the E! network scored an average viewership of 1.2 million viewers with a 0.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demo.

Total Divas went up against the seventh season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire which scored 2.37 million viewers and was shown in the same time slot as the WWE reality show about its women wrestlers.

The ratings are Live plus Same Day Viewing.

The season premiere was up 15% versus the season 2 premiere according to an E! press release.

Payout Perspective:

Strong ratings considering it did not have Keeping Up With the Kardashians as a lead-in.  It also did well considering it went up against Boardwalk Empire and Sunday Night NFL Football on NBC.  The WWE is starting to infuse Total Divas storylines with its WWE programming storylines which allows for crossover viewership.  Can we see more males tuning into Total Divas due to the crossover with Raw and Smackdown?

The Wrestling Post – 05.30.14

May 30, 2014

Before we head into one of the bigger combat sports Saturdays in a while, we welcome you to another edition of the Wrestling Post.

In a bit of bad timing for the WWE, this Sunday its Pay Per View event, Payback in Chicago will now go up against Game 7 for the Chicago Blackhawks as it plays the Los Angeles Kings to see who makes it to the Stanley Cup.  The card itself is not that strong and the importance for many Chicago sports fans will be centered around the hockey team.

Also on Sunday will be the Season Finale for Total Divas on E!  In its second season, (and renewed for a third) the episode culminates at Wrestlemania and Daniel Bryan’s wedding.  This season’s average through 10 episodes is slightly over 1.16 million viewers. It’s likely that it will not surpass its first season of almost 1.3 million viewers per episode.  For the second time this season, the episode will run up against its own brand so we might expect a certain segment of fans putting the finale on the DVR.

Regardless of the outcome of the finale, Total Divas has proven to be an asset for the E! network.  According to a recent press release, the network credited Total Divas for its 7% increase across key demos.

Via E! press release:

Returning series Total Divas is one key driver of growth, out-delivering year-ago programming across all key demos by impressive triple digit growth up to +135% in Total Viewers (1.0 Million), +103% in Women 18-34 (252,000), and +142% in Adults 18-49 (628,000).  Total Divas is pacing as E!’s best sophomore original series in two years (since May 2012) and is the network’s second-most watched original program after Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  Total Divas also ranks as a Top 5 ad-supported cable show on Sundays 9pm to 10pm in Women 18-34 (#3) and Adults 18-34 (#5).

Payout Take:  Despite what you may think about the reality show, it has become valuable to the E! network.  Even though there has been a slight decrease in viewership this season, it is doing well with key demos.  In its first season, it was positioned to succeed with a prime spot after its top series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  This season has gone without Kim and Chloe as a lead-in but still has produced on one of the busiest nights on television.

The Wrestling Post – 04.18.14

April 18, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition we write about a new PPV announced, DirecTV plays hard ball and the latest ratings from Total Divas.

Ring of Honor tries PPV Sunday June 22nd

This week Ring of Honor announced that it would be holding its first PPV ever for the company Sunday, June 22nd.

Notably, the ROH PPV is the same weekend as Glory’s first PPV and a week after TNA Wrestling’s PPV, Slammiversary.  ROH had previously put on iPPVs with some noted difficulties.

The Sinclair Broadcasting-owned ROH have expanded its reach with its weekly show as more affiliates carry ROH.  Of course, it’s at 1:00 am on Friday night here in Seattle so you can still DVR the show. Hopefully promotion of the PPV will attract fans to buy the PPV.

Payout Take:  The PPV can be seen as ROH capitalizing on the WWE popularity and its champion – Daniel Bryan worked Ring of Honor for some time.  104,000 buys is the unofficial number of ECW’s very first PPV – Barely Legal in 1997.  We shall see if ROH can do better in 2014.  ROH has more financial backing and should put on more of a polished product.  Obviously PPV has evolved since the late 1990s and we will see which satellite/cable companies pick up the PPV but it will be an interesting comparison.

DirecTV drops WWE PPVs

Earlier this week, DirecTV announced that it would no longer offer WWE PPVs to its subscribers per PW Torch.  WWE did release a statement acknowledging the move by the satellite company.  “Yes, DIRECTV has decided to stop offering our PPV’s residentially and commercially. The only other option would be to work through the local cable provider.”

DirecTV did leave an out that it may return to carrying WWE PPVs.  You may recall that the Dish Network first announced that it would no longer carry the company’s PPVs since it launched its digital network.  However, the distributor changed its mind and carried Wrestlemania XXX.  The domestic buys for Wrestlemania XXX, the first PPV carried on the WWE Network, drew 400,000 purchases.

Payout Take:  While the WWE is hoping for the success of its network, it still seeks its distributors to continue to carry its PPV.  Distributors such as DTV and Dish saw this as a direct hit against its profits from the WWE PPVs.  We all knew that the WWE Network would cannibalize its PPV profits but would benefit the WWE bottom line in the long run.  We will see whether DTV stands it ground. It has played hard ball in the past.  One need only look at the acrimonious negotiations between DTV and the Pac 12 Network and The Weather Channel to see it doesn’t back down.

Total Divas ratings

Episode 4 for the second season of Total Divas on E! scored 1.164 million viewers for a 0.5 rating among adults 18-49 according to Television By Numbers.   The episode was the first in two weeks having taken off for Wrestlemania XXX Sunday.

The 1.164 million is the second-lowest rating this season for the reality show.  This season’s average is at 1.26 million viewers.

The Wrestling Post – 03.23.14

March 23, 2014

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This week we look Total Divas ratings, WWE stock and Dish Network plays hardball with the WWE.

Total Divas Ratings for Season 2

The first episode of the second season of Total Divas on E! debuted last Sunday with an average viewership of 1.07 million viewers.  The ratings are below the season 1 average of 1.34 million.

Payout Take:  The one hour premiere likely did not do as well due to the lack of the lead-in of “Keeping Up with The Kardashians.”  Still, to think that this show is doing over 1 million viewers on the biggest night of television (Sunday night) for the week are remarkable.

Would the WWE Sell?

Things are bullish with the WWE stock nowadays as the launch of the WWE Network and the potential for a huge payoff with a new rights deal expected later this spring.  But, would the WWE sell to the highest bidder?  This is the question posed by Bloomberg in a blog post earlier this week.

The short answer to the hypothetical question is no.  WWE stock is parsed into two distinct groups, Class A and Class B.  The Class A shares are held by regular stockholders while the McMahon Family owns Class B stock.  With Class B stock comes 10 votes per share which means essentially Vince McMahon controls the voting power of the company.

But rumors of AMC Networks merging with the sports entertainment company have been brought up although it appears that these rumors are only “fantasy matchmaking.”  While neither AMC or WWE have commented on the rumors, this does not mean much but for bloggers to speculate and generate page views.

Payout Take:  Perhaps a conspiracy theory but rumors that the WWE would sell could be the WWE themselves generating rumors to drum up “newsworthy” items as it postures in rights fees negotiations.  It would be hard to believe that the WWE put itself in this position in order to sell.  Moreover, the perception of Vince McMahon is similar to that of Dana White as the leader of their respective organizations.  Neither one would want to lose control of their companies.  The company was built by McMahon and no matter how much money is offered, it’s unlikely that he will sell or merge.

Something wrong with WWE Earnings?

Seeking Alpha penned an article questioning whether WWE’s earnings quality come from sustainable sources.  The web site cites Thomas Reuters research in coming up with its concerns for the stock.

First, the research indicates that the operating profit margins have been decreasing steadily over the last three years.  Secondly, the company has poor free cash flows in its last five quarters.  This is likely due to the investment into establishing the WWE Network.  Of course, the investor concern is that the network will impact the PPV revenues.  Notably, the report cites “other programming like the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter.” Finally, there was a concern of bad debt. The question here is that the WWE’s allowance set aside for accounts receivables that it does not expect to collect from clients had fallen over the last three quarters.

Payout Take:  The article is an interesting look at concerns over the stock.  However, there are questions regarding its questions.  A lot of money it has spent in the recent quarters has gone to the development of the WWE Network.  There are other expenditures as well including the opening of a new state of the art training facility in Florida for NXT (development territory).  There is also the issue of its WWE Studios which has seeped money over the quarters after failed attempts to make stars out its own WWE characters and its attempts to revamp that unit.

Dish Network gets chesty with WWE

Dish Network announced this past Thursday that it would not carry Wrestlemania XXX according to Cageside Seats.  The move by Dish appears to be in reaction to the launch of the WWE Network.

In its official statement, Dish indicated the move was due to the WWE “not willing to adjust PPV costs to satellite/cable companies, which is unfair to their customers.”

Payout Take:  With the network launch, distributors such as Dish and DirecTV were likely upset that the WWE is putting its PPVs on its subscriber-based network.  This directly affects revenue the distributors usually shared with the WWE.  Thus, the distributors are losing out on the $60-$70 it anticipated fans would pay to watch the PPV.  While there was a likelihood that those not subscribing to the network, yet still fans of the WWE would order the PPV, the number is likely to shrink exponentially due to the popularity of the new network.  We will see if DirecTV follows in not carrying Wrestlemania XXX.

The Wrestling Post – 11.28.13

November 28, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  In this edition we talk Total Divas renewal and TNA’s new television deals.

Total Divas renewed for second season

With the ratings success of Total Divas, it was given an extended first season and now comes news that it will be given a second season.

Via Variety:

“Total Divas” has averaged 1.4 million total viewers since its summer debut, making it one of E!’s most promising new entries and a strong performer on Sunday nights in the 18-34 demo. From WWE and Bunim-Murray Prods., series centers on the lives of femme WWE stars both inside and outside of the ring.

Total Divas ratings took a step back this week with the first rating under 1 million viewers this past week but this may be due in part to the NFL (Broncos-Patriots) and the company’s own PPV, Survivor Series.

Payout Take:  The reality show was one of three new reality shows the network announced as returning for another season.  It received an optimum amount of push by the WWE (with promotion during its programming) and by E! as its primary lead-in was the network’s highest rated show, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

TNA Wrestling forges TV agreement in Japan and Australia      

TNA Wrestling announced an agreement with the Nippon Television Network Corporation.  TNA Impact Wrestling will be seen every Saturday and PPVs will be shown monthly.  In addition, it has signed a two-year deal with Fuel TV Australia.  In addition to the weekly program in Australia, TNA will introduce shoulder programming to complement TNA in Australia.

Payout Take:  The agreements abroad appear to be ways to expand the TNA brand and maybe keep the company afloat amidst rumors of its financial trouble. On another note, Sports Illustrated featured TNA’s head Dixie Carter in an interesting read about how her family decided to purchase a majority interest in the company.

The Wrestling Post: 11.20.13

November 20, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at Wrestlemania’s economic impact on New Jersey and this week’s Total Divas ratings.

New Jersey Receives Economic Impact of $101.2M from Wrestlemania

The WWE and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that this year’s Wrestlemania 29 taking place at Met Life Stadium provided a $101.2 million economic impact to the region according to a study.  Its the second straight year that the WWE has provided such a strong economic boost for its host city.

Via press release:

“On behalf of the great state of New Jersey, we thank all of WWE’s devoted fans who descended on our region from all over the world to be a part of WrestleMania,” said Governor Chris Christie. “The entire week of events helped generate a tremendous boost for our economy, and we look forward to the possibility of MetLife Stadium hosting a future WrestleMania.”

A capacity crowd of 80,676 fans from all 50 states and 34 countries attended WWE’s pop-culture extravaganza this past April, making it the highest grossing entertainment event at MetLife Stadium. Key highlights from the study include:

  • $101.2 million of direct, indirect and induced impact derived from spending by non-locals visiting specifically for WrestleMania 29.

  • 54% of fans that attended WrestleMania were from outside the New York/New Jersey area and stayed an average of four nights.

  • The economic impact derived from WrestleMania Week was equal to the creation of 943 full-time jobs for the area.

  • $5.2 million was spent by non-locals at New Jersey and New York restaurants.

Payout Take:   Regardless of what you may think of professional wrestling, the money the WWE generates from its annual event, Wrestlemania, brings in tremendous amounts of real money.  This is the reason why you see cities vying for the right to host the event.  The amount of people traveling to the event from around the world is a testament to the WWE and its brand.  It also is a boon for the hospitality industry in the region.

Total Divas 2nd Episode Up in Return

Television By Numbers reports that WWE’s Total Divas scored an average viewership of 1.4 million viewers.  The show which airs on Sundays at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET improves from last week’s 1.3 million average.

Via Television By Numbers:

  • E!’s “Total Divas” on Sunday, November 17 from 10-11pm scored the series’ best episode since September 1 across nearly all demos including P18-49 (903,000), W18-49 (558,000), M18-49 (346,000), P18-34 (537,000), W18-34 (363,000), Total Viewers (1.4 Million) and HH (1.0 Million).

  • The show also grew week-to-week across all demos including P18-49 (+21%), W18-49 (+12%), M18-49 (+40%), P18-34 (+3%), W18-34 (+1%), M18-34 (+7%), Total Viewers (+12%) and HH (+11%).

Payout Take:  The interesting takeaway is that the series which mainly drew from a woman audience is not picking up males 18-49 (up 40% this week).  This week occurred without the network’s top show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”  Despite what you may think about the show, it is drawing.

The Wrestling Post – 11.11.13

November 11, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at the second half of the first season of the WWE’s Total Divas on E! television.

Picking up from where it first stated WWE’s Total Divas scored a respectable 1.3 million viewers and 746,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo according to a press release from E!

Via E!’s press release:

The fall premiere of “Total Divas” also surged past its mid-season finale on September 15 across all key demos including Adults 18-49 (+10%), Women 18-49 (+16%), Adults 18-34 (+26%), Women 18-34 (+27%), Total Viewers (+21%) and Households (+20%).

The lead-in, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” scored 2.3 million total viewers and 1.6 million viewers in the 18-49 category.

Payout Perspective:

Despite a 1 million viewer drop from its lead-in, you could consider the return of the WWE reality show about its women wrestlers a success.  The previous average (1.37M) is on par with Sunday night’s new show.  It will be interesting to see how the second part of the first season goes.  The WWE and E! are pleasantly surprised with its success.  The amount of women watching the show is interesting as it appears that people are watching the show not based on the pro wrestling tie-in but based on the characters.

The Wrestling Post: Total Divas Ratings

September 17, 2013

Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post.  This time we take a look at ratings for Total Divas which averaged at 1.37 million viewers after 8 episodes.

The unexpected success that was Total Divas had its “mid-season” finale Sunday and according to Television By Numbers it had its lowest rating of the season at 1.03 million for a share of 0.5.  Notably, last week was the second lowest of the season with 1.09 million.  The downturn in ratings coincided with the loss of its lead in, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  And, of course the NFL.  This week it went up against its own PPV.  Of course, it’s likely that many of the core viewers are not the same as the PPV audience.

Episode 1: 1.34 million

Episode 2: 1.53 million

Episode 3: 1.67 million

Episode 4: 1.34 million

Episode 5: 1.46 million

Episode 6: 1.52 million

Episode 7: 1.09 million

Episode 8: 1.03 million

Payout Take:  Despite the downturn in ratings, the fact that E! added additional Total Divas episodes means it is a success.  Even 1.03 million viewers beats a TUF episode nowadays.

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