AEW Dynamite ratings so far in 2022 compared to 2021, and how much viewership downturn coincides with Punk’s absence

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

AEW Dynamite analysis
Young Bucks (photo credit AEW)

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AEW Dynamite this week drew 870,000 live and same-night viewers on cable TV (including traditional cable and broadband streaming services that carry TBS). It’s the third straight week Dynamite has drawn under 900,000 viewers. Last year during this same period, Dynamite dropped below 900,o00 viewers three straight weeks also.

In November, Dynamite averaged 882,000 viewers. That is down from an average of 1,006,000 viewers in October (excluding the Dynamite that aired on Tuesday instead of Wednesday) and 1,060,000 viewers in September.

Last November, Dynamite averaged 918,000 viewers. So they are down 36,000 viewers (3.9 percent) this year compared to last year.

The average viewership for all of September, October, and November this year was 955,000. Last year, the same 13 week period averaged 995,000 viewers. So Dynamite is down 40,000 viewers (4.0 percent) compared to last year in the same 13 week period.

For the year-to-date comparison, Dynamite is averaging 960,000 viewers through 11 months. The same 11 months last year, Dynamite averaged 887,000 viewers.

Q1 2022: 1,000,000
Q1 2021: 775,000

Q2 2022: 916,000
Q2 2021: 793,000

Q3 2022: 999,000
Q3 2021: 1,104,000

Oct/Nov 2022: 909,000
Oct/Nov 2021: 871,000

What this boils down to is that Dynamite viewership is up this year compared to last year after 11 months by 73,000 viewers (8.2 percent), but down in 2022 compared to 2021 in the second half of the year so far (971,000 to 1,008,000) after being up the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021 (958K vs. 784K).

More specifically, November was down compared to last year (882K vs. 918K), while October was up (943K to 924K), September was down (1.06 million vs. 1.19 million), and August was down (987K vs. 1.057K).

So far in 2022 in terms of monthly averages, Dynamite beat 2021 averages five out of the first six months. The second half of 2022, Dynamite beat 2021 averages only one out of five months (and that one increase was largely due to being moved out of the timeslot one less time this year compared to last year).

AEW got a boost at the end of August 2021 with the signings of several major names, most prominently C.M. Punk. That gave them momentum going in early 2022 which has since dissipated in the second half of 2022, which coincides with Adam Cole and Punk not being part of Dynamite the last three months. Punk was barely part of Dynamite the prior three months (when he was out injured during the summer before briefly returning and then getting injured again).

The downturn in Dynamite ratings in 2022 compared to 2021 tends to closely parallel the absence of C.M. Punk from the show.

The trajectory isn’t good no matter how it’s framed or spun, but that said, having lost Punk and Cole this fall, they were only down 36,000 viewers on average in November this year compared to last year.

From a ratings standpoint, which reflects the percent of homes with TBS who are watching Dynamite, the 2022 average through 11 months is 0.68. Through the same 11 months last year, the average rating was 0.59.

Looking at the last 13 weeks, the average rating this year is 0.70 compared to 0.62 last year.

So AEW is drawing a higher percentage of available viewers in those two key ratings periods compared to last year, regardless of viewership dropping off.

In the 18-49 demo, the last 13 weeks have averaged a 0.32 rating. The same 13 week period last year averaged 0.37. So in the key demo that counts the most to TV partners, they are down the last 13 weeks compared to last year by 14 percent.

Looking at the 18-49 demo the last 26 weeks, Dynamite has averaged 0.32 compared to 0.36 during the same period last year.

So again, there’s a lot of mixed signals that can point toward steadiness, a decline or an increase depending on what metric is being looked at. Total viewership is important to drawing PPV buys and selling live event tickets, as those viewers are more likely to support AEW in those ways than fans merely watching online clips of social media posts. The 18-49 ratings demo is what TV partners use to sell commercials to advertisers. Both of those numbers are town lately compared to a year ago and earlier this year.

In terms of the best number to evaluate interest in the product, the overall rating is best because it’s a percentage of homes with TBS who choose to watch, and that number is up the last 13 and 26 weeks compared to a year ago. That mitigates some concern regarding talent being missing or booking quality.

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