PWInsider is reporting that Pop TV informed Impact Wrestling this week that beginning on Oct. 25, the Impact Wrestling television show will no longer air at 8 p.m. ET, and will be moved to 10 p.m. ET.
The report states that next week’s episode (Oct. 18) will air at 8 p.m. with a 10 p.m. replay, and the following Thursday (Oct. 25) the show will begin permanently airing at 10 p.m.
The Oct. 4 edition of Impact Wrestling generated just 190,000 viewers, and the show is down 25 percent over the last month.
Impact has faced stiff competition from Thursday night NFL broadcasts since the beginning of September, but this move appears ominous for the company, given that their deal with Pop TV expires at the end of this year.
McMahon’s Take: Impact will spin this move as a positive. They’ll say they’re moving away from the NFL, and they could even argue that their edgier approach is more appropriate for 10 p.m. rather than 8 p.m. But facts are facts, and a 10 p.m. timeslot is a bad sign. Advertising rates plummet outside of primetime, so this move means that despite strong viewership numbers (compared to the rest of the shows on Pop TV), the network must believe it can garner better ad sales with something else in that primetime slot. Typically on weeknights, Pop will air movies or syndicated television shows from 8-10 p.m.
This move is for one of two reasons …
1) Pop wants to help Impact avoid the competition from the NFL, but I still think there’s competition. Typically at 10 p.m., the Thursday NFL game is just entering the second half. If it’s a good game, people have been watching for almost 90 minutes. They’re not going to turn over to a wrestling show. If Pop wanted Impact to avoid conflict with the NFL (if that was the biggest reason for this move), they would have moved them to Wednesday, or something.
2) Pop is preparing for life after Impact. This could be a test. With only a couple of months left in their agreement, Pop is going to try something different in the Thursday timeslot (even if it’s just re-runs of something else), in an effort to see if the ad revenue is greater. They’re on a barter deal with Impact, meaning they split the ad sales. Well, if they air an old movie that they own the broadcast rights for, then Pop is getting all of those ad sales. It could be that soap opera re-runs or early-90’s movies actually makes the network more money. In other words, 100 percent of a little might be more than 50 percent of a little more.