The Wrestling Antagonist
Understanding ratings and social media
For years in wrestling you’ve probably heard the term “ratings” as a casual fan reading your daily wrestling news. Ratings became the main topic of debate in the mid to late 90’s during the peak of the “Monday Night Wars”. So how are these ratings determined and what do they mean? Well any one from an actor from a TV show to and producer will downplay the legitimacy of ratings until they are soaring. All while network executives will tout them as almost currency in negotiations. They are used by networks as estimated value of a televisions shows net worth. The Nielsen cable ratings have been securitized for years based on their flaws, which one could make a case, is quite true.
The system was started in 1936 by Arthur C. Nielsen, a small box in a viewer’s home would keep data of what people watched. As a kid you may even remember someone coming to your home and collecting data from a small box on your TV. Today data collection is much simpler, as it can be wirelessly streamed for real time results. Nielsen goes beyond just measuring what you watch, but they keep track of the demographics within your home, they even break down what commercials you’re changing the channel from and what parts of the show receive the highest viewing audience. They can then determine an estimate on how many people are watching based on this info. For example if a small rural area has a population of 5,000 males between the ages of 18-49 and they monitor half of them, they can estimate what the rest of the population is watching based on those trends.
So what does the little rating we see indicate exactly? When we see a RAW rating of 2.7, it’s telling us that of the total estimated television viewing homes of America, 2.7% of them were watching RAW. The number of homes varies each year but near approximately 115.6 million homes, and nearly 294 million people, age 2 or older live in these homes. Due to the fact that not everyone is monitored, ratings are downplayed by the those who are directly involved with the show, but as I stated previously, networks depend on these rating to determine what can be charged for commercial spots of shows on their networks. Thus giving them a number to negotiate with TV shows on what they are willing to pay for their product on the network.
It’s no secret that WWE’s ratings have been dropping for the better part of a decade, once garnering massive 5’s and 6’s. With the drop in ratings companies are no doubt less interested in shelling money out for commercial time, which will effect what USA is willing to pay WWE for their product. However those within the anti-nielsen community may have finally found a way to combat the machine.
Week after week we are told to take out our smartphone and then given a step by step on how to download the WWE app, as if we are mindless assholes who just woke up from a nap we’ve been taking since the 17th century. This along with the explosion of Twitter within WWE is because a new system has come about measuring “social media activity.” By showing the number of social media participation, WWE may be able to counter low ratings and show the numbers are wrong. This is a good plan and all, however the fact doesn’t change that other TV shows aren’t telling us to download their app fourteen times a show and reminding us twenty five times a show to hash tag this and vote on that and so on. I personally feel that the social media boom within WWE is an act of desperation and that a large TV network like USA isn’t gonna buy it. I also believe WWE is well aware of that and it’s become the driving force behind the “WWE Network” we’ve been hearing about for years. I also believe the drop is ratings is why we seen a move to three hour RAWs, so that there was more time to squeeze in extra commercials. Whatever the reasons be behind all the charades all I can say is, WWE boycotted the people who were their biggest fans, and your judgment day is coming.
Thanks for reading guys and gals. I haven’t had my Twitter going long but I would love to hear from you. Give me an add and I’ll be sure to follow back. @MikeyPellerito
On a side note, stop “Touting”…. Dumbest fucking thing ever.”