The big news: Monday Night RAW hits record-low in 18–49 demographic
Early next month, Monday Night RAW will celebrate twenty eight years on the cable airwaves in the United States and in that entire time, the show has never had a lower rating in the key 18-49 ratings category than they did this week. It’s the second time in the last eight weeks they’ve set that record. Monday Night Football is way up this year, and this week in particular did very well, but this show has aired on major holidays, during hot election cycles, major catastrophes and many other things and this is the lowest.
Overall, viewership was “only” the ninth lowest of all time so it was younger viewers who seemed to check out. NXT also tied it’s record low and all three other shows were down from recent averages. Younger people just aren’t into television wrestling right now in big numbers for whatever reason.
This week’s numbers
- AEW Dynamite averaged 872,000 viewers, up 1.3% from the previous Wednesday. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.33 rating, up 6.5% from last week. Dynamite finished fifth on the cable charts for the second week in a row, trailing two NBA playoff games on ESPN, MTV’s The Challenge and Bravo’s Real Housewives. Looking at the numbers a little more closely, the biggest increase was with females 12-34, who were up 10%. Interestingly, males in that same age group were down 11.1%, the biggest drop in any age group. Most everything else was up slightly or even with a small decline in people over 50.
- WWE NXT 2.0 on the USA Network, averaged 590,000 viewers, down 7.4% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 48th on the cable charts. It’s the second lowest audience total since February 10, which predates the rebranding of the show and the move to Tuesday nights. The show did a 0.11 rating in 18–49, down 26.7% from last week and tied the lowest number in the history of the show. The biggest drops were with younger viewers. 18-34 overall was down 54.6%. In the 12-34 age group, males were down 54.6% and females were down 55.6%. People over 50 were only down 2.8% which resulted in the show skewing higher than any episode of WWE TV in history.
- Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,599,083 viewers for the December 6 episode. That’s down 4.7% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.35 rating, down 23.9% from the previous week. They finished seventh on cable in the demo, but second among non-NFL related programming. They usually are on top for entertainment programming but lost to Below Deck this week. The main reason was that the NFL game featuring the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills averaged nearly fifteen million viewers and a massive 4.49 rating in 18–49 between two different feeds of the game on ESPN and ESPN2.
- Friday Night SmackDown on December 3 averaged 2.030 million viewers on FOX, down 5.5% from the previous week. This came despite the advertised appearance of Brock Lesnar, who was all over the show. The show finished fourth among network programming with a 0.51 rating, down 10.5%. The generally top all broadcast networks in that category but had tougher competition this week with College Football and the S.W.A.T. mid-season finale. They finished third among network programming in the 18–34 demo with a 0.28 rating, trailing only the PAC-12 championship game and the pre-show.
- AEW Rampage on the same night following SmackDown averaged 499,000 viewers, up 15.8% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged the same 0.18 rating as it did last week. Rampage finished sixteenth on the night in the cable charts in the key demo. After finishing inside the top ten for their first three months on the air every week, they are now regularly outside of that.
As shown in the chart below, the increases/decreases over the ten-week average, prior to this week, are as follows:
- AEW Dynamite was down 2.9% in viewers and 2.9% in 18–49. The numbers would look much worse if the two Saturday airings weren’t a part of those averages.
- WWE NXT 2.0 was down 7% in viewers and 21.4% in 18–49. This is more of an illustration as to how old the show skewed this week.
- WWE RAW was down 3.6% in viewers and 22.2% 18–49. The 18–49 audience was down much lower than overall. You can blame it on the NFL game but the same thing happened with NXT so it could be a sign that the product itself is turning off younger viewers.
- WWE SmackDown was up 6.3% in viewers and 2% in 18–49 but there were two weeks where the show aired on FS 1 that affects that average. In comparing to the eight weeks of FOX airings, the show was down 5.5% in viewers and 8.9% in 18–49. For whatever reason, the 18-49 drop wasn’t as pronounced for FOX which may have to do with being on a network as opposed to cable. Or it could be that this week, the show is in for another big drop.
- AEW Rampage was down 10.9% in overall viewers and 18.2% in 18–49. This show has been on a steady downward trajectory since its debut. It was up this week but last weekend was a holiday.
AEW Dynamite was down 12.4% in overall viewers and 26.7% in the 18–49 demo. Since returning to live touring, the show had shown double digit increases in every week but one up until 4 weeks ago. In that time, they’ve been down over 20% twice, exactly even one and up for Thanksgiving week. What happened last year at this time was that Kenny Omega won the world title at Winter is Coming (last week) and then they had the fall-out of the big angle with Omega taking the title to Impact wrestling the following show (this week). But that whole angle and Omega’s title reign did lead to increased numbers so the week of 20% or more year over year growth are probably done for now.
WWE NXT 2.0 was down 10.5% in viewers and 35.3% in 18–49. This is being compared to when they were running on Wednesdays opposite Dynamite so it’s even worse than it seems on the surface. The 18-49 drop is, quite frankly, shocking. And it’s not a one week aberration as the show has declined year over year in ten of the last eleven weeks and the average drop has been over 17%.
WWE RAW was down 7.9% in viewers and 31.4% in 18–49. It’s the ninth straight week of year over year declines in the demo after a good run of growth earlier in the year. The average decline over that time span has been 18% so almost the exact same as NXT.
WWE SmackDown was down 4.7% in overall audience and 15% in 18–49. This is six straight weeks of decline, which has not happened since March.
Courtesy of Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics.com, below is a chart detailing the quarter hours for this week’s episode of AEW Rampage on TNT.
What the ratings pattern of this show showed to me was that the show does not necessarily decline as it goes on, as many believe, with the late time slot. It opened strong for a title match and then had a huge drop (almost 15%) for a segment with a squash match and backstage stuff, but it picked up for the main event. The increases were even more pronounced with younger viewers. In fact with the 18–34 age group, the main event was actually the peak.