WWE Could Make SmackDown Live To Improve TV Deal
Variety is reporting that WWE are open to producing SmackDown as a live show in order to further help sell their upcoming TV negotiations, and pull in more rights fees. The company signed their previous deals with NBC Universal so that all of their programming expires at the same time. This gives them big leverage to shop their shows around to major networks as a package containing RAW, SmackDown, Main Event, Saturday Morning Slam and Total Divas.
As previously reported WWE is hoping to follow NASCAR and significantly increase the amount they’re paid.
By offering up all its shows at once, “We’re letting the marketplace determine if it’s interested in all or pieces,” says Michelle Wilson, WWE’s chief revenue and marketing officer. The company also is tackling a self-inflicted perception problem. For years, it’s touted its over-the-top characters and soap opera storylines ahead of the live aspect of the year-round action in the ring.
“We’ve had to evolve our thinking,” Wilson says. “We are clearly entertainment-based, but if you think about the characteristics of our brand, it’s live action, and that’s sports. We want to be compensated for a live audience, since live content is getting a very significant premium in the marketplace.”
The company cites Nascar’s impressive dealmaking this summer as an example. The racing league secured a new 10-year deal with NBC and Fox worth $820 million a year. And that increase came in the face of declining ratings for many of its races. WWE argues that “Raw” and “SmackDown” alone are just as attractive, with a rabid fanbase that’s helped build networks, and its series are diverse in ethnicity and age.
Combined, the shows air 156 episodes a year that average a 2.2 household rating. Nascar airs 154 races and averages a 1.38 household rating among viewers, who are 92% white and over 50. WWE’s audience is far more diverse and broken out fairly evenly among age groups. A selling point is that 44% of them are under 34.
An interesting aspect of the story is that WWE have talked with Viacom the parent company of Spike TV. If they signed with Viacom one has to wonder what happens to TNA Impact.
RAW Audience Increases
RAW’s audience increased after TLC, drawing an average of 4.20 million viewers, which is up from last week’s 4.16 million number. Hour one drew 4.417 million, 4.297 million for the second hour, and 3.886 million viewers for the final hour.
The Shield On Onnit Podcast
The Shield were recent guests on the Onnit Podcast with Aubrey Marcus, which went about 45 minutes:
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