Pop TV is moving Impact Wrestling out of primetime on Thursday nights (w/ McMahon’s analysis)

BY MIKE MCMAHON, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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.

6 Comments on Pop TV is moving Impact Wrestling out of primetime on Thursday nights (w/ McMahon’s analysis)

  1. They may as well give up or cut the show down to an hour.

    I know so many people who go to bed right after the show ends at 10pm. There’s no way will they stay up for it now and it’s doubtful they will keep it in their DVR with so much other wrestling content each week available. For those who do stay up late, the second hour goes into late local news time and the late night talk shows as competition.

  2. Showerthought: If the show aired at 8pm Eastern, meaning 5pm Pacific, I wonder how many people don’t end up watching Impact on the West Coast as it stands now, because a lot of people don’t get out of work until 5pm Pacific or later.

    Obviously moving them to 10pm Eastern is going to hurt their ratings and viewership on the east coast considering a good number of people go to bed around that time to get up early for work the next morning. But, I wonder if the new 7pm pacific time will increase ratings and viewership on the west coast?

    My guess would be that any uptick in west coast viewership wouldn’t completely negate any east coast losses — but I wonder how big of a dent, if any, the uptick in west coast viewers would make on any potential east coast viewer losses?

    Just a random thought, and I was wondering how crazy that logic sounded to other people.

    • I’m not 100% positive on this, but I believe there are separate feeds for the west coast. Where it’s not a live show, I believe it airs at 8 p.m. in the PT zone. Perhaps there’s a PT viewer who will read this and can confirm or correct?

      • Ah, I didn’t even think of that! I’d be willing to bet you’re right, but would be interested to see if a west coast viewer chimes in.

  3. This is good news for Impact despite the negativity. Speaking of bad news, bad week for you WWE marks with the Saudi Arabi situation and the rioting fanbase.

  4. It is kind of a shame this is happening. When Don Callis came to the company I saw a tremendous improvement. Using wrestlers from Lucha Underground is a plus and I was actually looking forward to Bound For Glory even though I am still on the fence of ordering it.

    Also if they do not decide to renew with Pop they better hope another provider is willing to air them. An ideal scenario would be to air on TBS or another Turner network but we probably know what Turner executives think of wrestling. Maybe WGN America would bite. They aired the first hour of All In and from what I heard it was a success.

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