Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WWE Viewer Demographics

WWE puts some demographic information on the Corporate Website and in their investor presentations.

Who watches WWE programming?WWE is watched by 15 million fans each week in the United State alone. Our diverse audience spans generations of fans. Approximately 35% of WWE's audience is female and 24% are under the age of 18.

You can also look at the June 2014 Investors Presentation (page 16) which breaks out the age demographics as 21% (2-17), 23% (18-34), 21% (35-49) and 35% (50+).

It is important to note that this uses a very "loose" definition of WWE viewer. As discussed in the 8/19/2013 WON which noted that while Variety touted WWE's "20 million people watched WWE's five show!" claim, they didn't really explain things like:
a) It counted all shows (and replays) with Total Divas airing 17 that week
b) It counted everyone who watched at least "six minutes" of the show
c) It's not a "all-time record" (Hogan/Andre had 33 million viewers in 1988, Attitude Era had more viewers)

Additionally, last year Scarsborough published their demographic findings on Boxing, UFC and WWE fans over at the Sports Business Journal:

That has a good breakdown by age, gender and education level. The numbers generally match WWE's findings (not the silliness with the "number of households with WWE affinity" but otherwise the gender/age splits.) I recommend checking that out. Additionally, Dave wrote about it in the Observer in the 5/6/13 WON issue.


JordWareham said...

So why does WWE push PG? I'm not asking for a carbon copy of the attitude era, but something less childish.

Indeed Wrestling said...

I think there's room for a happy medium.

Why did WWE push for PG? Because despite their large audiences for live content (Raw), they get a pittance from advertisers. After years of trying to argue the point, WWE decided it'd be better to convince 'blue-ribbon' advertisers (the General Mills of the world) to work with them and they believed the best way to do that was to go PG. And so far, the strategy is working as they've brought on board several better advertisers.

If they could go back to the popularity of the Attitude Era, they would gladly ditch PG. But the reality is that 2002-2010 taught WWE that they needed more than wrestling to grow in a one-federation world.

Remember, WWE primarily thinks of itself as a integrated media organization and "recognized leader in global entertainment". They care most about having a healthy balance sheet, and outside of the costly WWE Network investment, things are going fine. They've secured large, guaranteed TV deals and their live events business is steady. They are licensing out their IP more and more and making deals with companies like Warner Bros. to work on projects (Flintstones, Scooby Doo) which may not be possible without the PG commitment from WWE.

Technically, most of SmackDown's run on UPN/MyNetworkTV - including some pretty memorable and risque moments - was rated PG-era for the show. PG isn't the problem. You can argue that writing and storytelling is the issue, but I think there's been numerous hits in the past 12-months including a pretty great WrestleMania 31.

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