Thursday, October 5News That Matters

WWE Raw Has A Major Problem That May Be Impossible To Fix



Credit: WWE.com

Credit: WWE.com

The biggest problem plaguing the red brand lies in the layout of the show because, let’s face it, the three-hour format simply isn’t working.

You may have noticed that WWE, in an attempt to combat the ratings juggernaut known as Monday Night Football, has been booking the show’s biggest segment at the beginning of Raw’s third hour rather than at the close of the show. The logic behind that is that viewership peaks there, so it’s better to put the "main event" segment in a time slot that isn’t actually the main event. And sure, that’s all fine and dandy, until it’s not.

According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, last week’s edition of Raw averaged 3.102 million views for hour one, 3.081 for hour two and an abysmal 2.568 million viewers for hour three. The latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the whopping 16% drop in viewership between the second and third hours marked the second largest hourly drop in the long history of Raw. What’s unfortunate for WWE is that really just continued a trend of a massive third hour drop, as the third hour of Raw has been the show’s least watched hour for literally every episode in 2017, oftentimes averaging 300,000 or more fewer viewers than hour one or two.

Also on Forbes:

It’s clear to most fans that Raw’s three-hour format has hurt the quality of the show, resulting in time-filler segments, weak feuds and promos that drag on for far too long. In an ideal world, that third hour of Raw would cease to exist. It’s just not economically feasible to get rid of it.

WWE reported record revenue in Q2 2017, and a look at WWE’s Investor Presentation shows that a substantial portion of that revenue came from TV rights fees. It’s also noted that its adjusted OIBDA for Q3 2017 will be "approximately $31 million to $35 million, representing an expected year-over-year increase primarily due to the contractual escalation of television rights fees."

Credit: WWE Investor Presentation

Credit: WWE Investor Presentation

The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer has said that WWE simply makes too much money from the third hour of Raw, about $50 million per year, to ever go back to a two-hour format, which has forced WWE into a spot that is virtually impossible to wiggle out of.

On one hand, Raw would clearly benefit from reverting to its former two-hour format, which would result in a show with less filler, fewer pedestrian feuds and a refreshed audience, which often feels exhausted after consuming so much weekly WWE content. On the other hand, it doesn’t make much sense for WWE, from a business perspective, to get rid of one of its biggest moneymakers, which is exactly what the third hour of Raw is.

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WWE Raw finds itself facing a huge issue that has nothing to do with Roman Reigns, John Cena or any particular star.

Credit: WWE.com

Credit: WWE.com

The biggest problem plaguing the red brand lies in the layout of the show because, let’s face it, the three-hour format simply isn’t working.

You may have noticed that WWE, in an attempt to combat the ratings juggernaut known as Monday Night Football, has been booking the show’s biggest segment at the beginning of Raw’s third hour rather than at the close of the show. The logic behind that is that viewership peaks there, so it’s better to put the “main event” segment in a time slot that isn’t actually the main event. And sure, that’s all fine and dandy, until it’s not.

According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, last week’s edition of Raw averaged 3.102 million views for hour one, 3.081 for hour two and an abysmal 2.568 million viewers for hour three. The latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the whopping 16% drop in viewership between the second and third hours marked the second largest hourly drop in the long history of Raw. What’s unfortunate for WWE is that really just continued a trend of a massive third hour drop, as the third hour of Raw has been the show’s least watched hour for literally every episode in 2017, oftentimes averaging 300,000 or more fewer viewers than hour one or two.

Also on Forbes:

It’s clear to most fans that Raw’s three-hour format has hurt the quality of the show, resulting in time-filler segments, weak feuds and promos that drag on for far too long. In an ideal world, that third hour of Raw would cease to exist. It’s just not economically feasible to get rid of it.

WWE reported record revenue in Q2 2017, and a look at WWE’s Investor Presentation shows that a substantial portion of that revenue came from TV rights fees. It’s also noted that its adjusted OIBDA for Q3 2017 will be “approximately $31 million to $35 million, representing an expected year-over-year increase primarily due to the contractual escalation of television rights fees.”

Credit: WWE Investor Presentation

Credit: WWE Investor Presentation

The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer has said that WWE simply makes too much money from the third hour of Raw, about $50 million per year, to ever go back to a two-hour format, which has forced WWE into a spot that is virtually impossible to wiggle out of.

On one hand, Raw would clearly benefit from reverting to its former two-hour format, which would result in a show with less filler, fewer pedestrian feuds and a refreshed audience, which often feels exhausted after consuming so much weekly WWE content. On the other hand, it doesn’t make much sense for WWE, from a business perspective, to get rid of one of its biggest moneymakers, which is exactly what the third hour of Raw is.

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