Raw Rating: Massive viewership dropoff from first to third hour, key metrics and year-ago perspective (w/Keller’s Analysis)

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Raw TV event (photo credit Ross McAdam © PWTorch)

Last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw on USA Network drew a 1.96 rating among live and same-night DVR viewers. This is similar to last week’s rating of 1.97, and just below the ten-week rolling average headed into this week of 2.00. It’s below the peak ratings of two and three weeks ago of 2.14 the week before and day after Survivor Series.

The notable metric is the massive dropoff from the first hour to the third hour. The close Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals game on ESPN could have played a significant factor. Still, though, the average viewership from hour one (3.15 million) to the third hour (2.43 million) was a drop of 717,000. The third hour began with a surprise unadvertised appearance by Braun Strowman against Elias, an unadvertised Asuka vs. Alicia Fox match, an unadvertised Finn Balor vs. Bo Dallas match, the unadvertised follow-up of the Matt Hardy personality transformation, and finally the advertised main event of The Bar challenging The Shield’s Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose for the Raw Tag Team Titles.

This week’s rating is also substantially below last year’s same-week rating (1.96 this year, 2.08 last year).

Keller’s Analysis: WWE still could be doing more to build interest in the third hour beyond just the main event. Their belief that viewers can only anticipate two or three segments and otherwise become overwhelmed maybe was the right philosophy 20 years ago or so when Raw was one hour, or 10 years ago when it was two hours, but a three hour Raw needs to give viewers with so many viewing options and distractions, a strong incentive to stick around for the third hour. Presenting three unadvertised matches with no build-up before the main event isn’t enough. Last night’s show was heavier than usual on long recap videos. How different would the third hour rating have been if WWE had pushed throughout the show and on social media for days that Matt Hardy would appear and address last week’s breakdown?

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