SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE Monday Night Raw continued its ratings slide, drawing a 1.38 rating last night on USA Network, down from last week’s 1.47 rating and a 1.66 rating the week before. Despite featuring advertised segments with Brock Lesnar, Edge, Undertaker, and Becky Lynch, hundreds of thousands of viewers are skipping Raw, which is mostly consisting of solo prepped promos, big name matches from their library, and empty-venue matches.
First hour viewership began at 2.139 million, not far off from three weeks ago when it drew 2.157 million in the first hour, but down 150,000 from last week’s first hour rating. Viewership dropped each hour thereafter to 1.986 million and 1.646 million. The first-to-third hour drop-off of 493,000 is lower than last week, but higher than the 324,000 average drop-off dating back to the beginning of 2019.
While there was initial curiosity about Raw the first week it aired without an audience, each week that goes by now there’s been a loss of viewership. Three out of four weeks in January, the first hour of Raw drew over 2.5 million viewers and this week the first hour viewership was down 400,000.
Raw’s first two hours finished no. 3 and no. 4 in the cable rankings among 18-49 year olds with the third hour coming in at no. 7. Ratings in that demo were 0.63, 0.61, ad 0.51. VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” show finished no. 1 and no. 2 for the night with demo ratings of 0.69 and 0.63. Raw did more total viewers than “Love & Hip Hop.” Cable news shows otherwise dominated the top 50 rankings for the night with 29 of the top 40 shows for the day.
(Keller’s Analysis: WWE should expect a jump in viewership next Monday the day after WrestleMania weekend, but from there it could get worse. It’s also possible WWE will find a water level of fans who enjoy the current format enough to stick with it, and maybe that level is right around this rating. Nobody knows. The rating this week is concerning enough that WWE ought to at least brainstorm how to vary the format or add additional different content to spice it up, but there are no easy or obvious answers right now. Some of the viewership erosion could primarily be fans watching cable news instead, which would be less of an indication that the format for Raw isn’t working and more of an indication that at least 200,000 usual Raw viewers are prioritizing updates on the coronavirus at this time, and those viewers could in theory shift back to Raw as soon as the coronavirus news subsides even if Raw is still running in an empty venue or airing older matches.)