On the latest edition of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff talked about the viewership numbers for AEW Dynamite and NXT and how he feels that neither show is doing the types of ratings they need to do longterm (he did praise AEW as having accomplished amazing things so far). Highlights are below.
On why AEW Dynamite’s ratings are ‘not pretty’ yet: “Let’s be realistic. They are still coming in under a million viewers a week, and they’re coming in under a million viewers a week on a major cable outlet that typically does a bigger number than that. More importantly, they’re delivering under a million viewers a week within a genre, sports entertainment, professional wrestling, whatever you want to call it, that is typically not really an advertising-friendly platform. So while those numbers look good, look great, look fantastic, from a competitive position with WWE, from an ad sales position, particularly in primetime, it’s not a pretty number yet.”
On what AEW has to do in the ratings to really be successful: “It’s a good number, it’s a solid number, and if they can build upon that number and grow it, like Nitro did, and I think here’s a really, here’s a better comparison. I think if you go back and look at the debut of Nitro unopposed, I think we came in around a 2.5 or 2.6, which even back then, represented almost two million viewers, two million plus viewers. But once RAW came back and we were going head-to-head, we were living in that 2.4, 2.5, 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, 3.3, we were growing, our audience was building as opposed to staying flat, and what I’ve seen so far from AEW is, they’re numbers are essentially flat. You can’t look at 30,000, that’s a rounding error. Ratings are such a kabuki measurement anyway, but 30,000 viewers here, 50,000 viewers there, on a week to week basis, that is a rounding error, that means absolutely nothing, it’s basically a flat line. If AEW can go from where they are now which is, I think the last week I looked at was around 950,000 viewers or so, if they can start building upon that where six months from now or a year from now they’re at 1.5 million, now you have a viable business because other networks are going to look at that and go, ‘Wow, that audience is growing.’ Yes, maybe only 1.5 million for a wrestling show, that’s a little tough because the pool of advertisers is pretty small for wrestling as oppose to a movie of the week or a drama series which advertisers are much more comfortable in. But if they can grow that number, that’s why I said when we started this out, talk to me in a year. If they’ve gone from 950,000 viewers on average, fluctuations week to week, but over the course of six to eight months they’ve built upon that 950,000 and now they’re doing 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, kind of like Nitro did, now they actually have something that’s real. But until that happens, it’s still kind of a wait and see for me.”
On how NXT ratings are doing: “And the same is true for NXT. I don’t know where USA’s head is at but I can’t imagine that USA Network is thrilled, or WWE could be thrilled, with numbers as low as 700, 800,000 viewers that they’ve been getting consistently. That’s not a big number. Here’s the advantage that NXT has that AEW doesn’t have. NXT is being co-promoted on Monday Night RAW which has been around since the beginning of time, it feels like, it’s being promoted by some of the biggest superstars in the world, it features some of the top talent within WWE occasionally, as we saw a couple of weeks ago, and it’s also being promoted indirectly on Smackdown, which is a FOX Network series. So with all of the additional promotion that NXT is getting, the fact that it is hovering under a million viewers a week on average, I think has to be pretty disappointing.”
On the need for both shows to grow their audiences if they want to survive on TV longterm: “If there is not some growth, and those numbers continue to deteriorate, I think the future for both of those properties on television in terms of it being real longterm, I think it’s pretty tentative.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit 83 Week with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.