The months of September and October are typically unkind to WWE, with the start of Monday Night Football, along with network and cable TV show premieres taking a bite out of Raw and Smackdown viewership.
The fall of 2018 has been particularly rough on WWE as this week’s episodes of Raw and Smackdown posted unusually low viewership numbers, with Raw averaging its lowest audience in show history.
According to ShowBuzz Daily, this week’s episode of Raw, which was the final episode before this Saturday’s WWE Super Show-Down PPV, averaged 2.302 million viewers. This week’s number is down from the previous week’s 2.35 million viewership average, which before this week, was the lowest audience Raw has drawn since the show’s inception.
Over on the Blue Brand, WWE Smackdown Live this week averaged 2.095 million viewers, which is down from last week’s 2.193 million viewership average, and is dangerously close to dipping below 2 million viewers.
While taking a second to digest the above information, the question becomes, “what does all this mean?”
For doomsday believers, the continuing trend of dropping ratings means the end of WWE for all of eternity, but that is hardly the case. When viewing ratings information as a whole, it is important to keep in mind that the way people consume television is ever-changing, with cord cutting becoming more popular, and outlets such as Hulu and YouTube becoming more fashionable for watching shows like Raw and Smackdown. With school back in session, students might be less likely to watch shows live, but will watch them via DVR or via another OnDemand platform. Additionally in the fall, viewers might be less inclined to watch 5 full hours of WWE programming and will favor digital segments.
In the end, WWE signed two television deals with FOX and NBCUniversal over the summer worth over $2 billion, so while the company’s TV ratings woes continue, networks certainly see the overall appeal in the WWE product and have shelled out big bucks to obtain 52 weeks of live, first-run programming.