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AEW vs. WWE Ratings Report: Winter Is Coming ties Dynamite’s lowest 18–49 number since May

AEW Dynamite: Winter Is Coming

The big news: AEW Dynamite increases in overall viewers but falls to lowest 18–49 number since May

AEW’s special edition of Dynamite, the second annual Winter is Coming, increased its overall viewership to the highest level in about a month but tied it’s lowest mark in the 18–49 demo since well before the return to live touring. The likely culprits were season finales of several shows celebrating their season finales, including The Challenge and Real Housewives on cable and network offerings Masked Singer and Survivor.

This week’s numbers

  • AEW Dynamite averaged 948,000 viewers, up 17.6% from the previous Wednesday and the highest viewership for the show since November 17. In the 18–49 demo, the show averaged a 0.31 rating, down 6.1% from last week. Dynamite finished fifth on the cable charts for the third 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 persons over 50, who were up 25.7% and this was almost entirely the reason for the overall viewership increase. Females 18–49 were down 10% and men were down 4.4% in that age group.
  • WWE NXT 2.0 on the USA Network, averaged 561,000 viewers, down 4.9% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show finished 36th on the cable charts. It’s the lowest audience total since February 10, which predates the rebranding of the show and the move to Tuesday nights. The show did a 0.14 rating in 18–49, up 27.3% from last week, so the show skewed much younger this week. The early NBA game almost doubled its overall viewership and over 50 demo rating. The latter is NXT’s strongest category and, as a result, they were down 8.6% but up in every other category. It was almost the exact opposite of what happened with Dynamite this week. 
  • Monday Night RAW on the USA Network averaged 1,573,166 viewers for the December 13 episode. That’s down 1.6% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged a 0.39 rating, up 11.4% from last week’s record low. They finished sixth on cable in the demo, but topped all non-NFL related programming. 
  • Friday Night SmackDown on December 10 averaged 2.142 million viewers on FOX, up 5.5% from the previous week. The show finished tied for second among network programming with a 0.50 rating, down 2%. Coverage of the extreme weather in some major markets pre-empted Smackdown on FOX and led to the 18–49 decline. They did top all network shows with a 0.30 rating in 18–34. 
  • AEW Rampage on the same night following SmackDown averaged 503,000 viewers, up 0.8% from last week. In the 18–49 demo the show averaged the same 0.18 rating as it has for the last 2 weeks. Rampage finished thirteenth 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 up 8.9% in viewers but down 6.1% 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 10.6% in viewers but even in 18–49. With so many older viewers watching basketball, the show’s audience was much younger this week. 
  • WWE RAW was down 4.6% in viewers and 11.4% 18–49. The 18–49 audience was down much lower than overall. 
  • WWE SmackDown was up 12.9% in viewers and was even 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 up 0.3% in viewers but down 10.7% in 18–49. Remembering that this aired in the same calendar week as RAW and NXT from last week’s report, they had huge 18-49 declines across the board as compared to recent averages and this was another example of that. 
  • AEW Rampage was down 7.8% in overall viewers and 14.3% in 18–49. This show has been on a steady downward trajectory since its debut. It was up this week for the second week in a row but just barely. 


Year-over-year numbers

AEW Dynamite was up 17.6% in overall viewers but down 3.1% in the 18–49 demo. This is the third straight week of year over year decline in the key demo after months of double digit increases. This is mostly due to the fact that the show airs live on the west coast now but off-setting that is the fact the show no longer has NXT as direct competition on Wednesday nights. Overall viewers being up is evidence of how much that helps Dynamite

WWE NXT 2.0 was down 26.8% in viewers and 26.3% 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 eleven of the last twelve weeks and the average drop has been almost 18%.

WWE RAW was up 3.1% in viewers but down 4.9% in 18–49. It’s the tenth 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 17% so almost the same as NXT. 

WWE SmackDown was down 2.9% in overall audience and 16.7% in 18–49. This is seven straight weeks of decline, which has not happened since March. 

Ratings extra

Courtesy of Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics.com, below is a chart detailing the quarter hours for this week’s episode of AEW Dynamite on TNT.

What this clearly shows was heightened interest in the World title match that opened the show and spanned the first hour and then some. There was a massive drop-off after that but things picked up again for the main event. In fact, the largest growth segment was the main event, which featured MJF. He has been one of the most consistent ratings movers over the last several weeks, ever since starting his program with CM Punk.

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