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Raw and Smackdown Online?

Online Brian Morin, via Flickr


What is the future of Raw and Smackdown Live?

CBS Chicago’s Chuck Carroll has done some number crunching on where WWE stands from a revenue point and noted that WWE’s Television ratings have indeed dropped. The numbers show ratings of both shows and it’s due to other platforms available to allow viewers watch it else where. Carroll believes that Raw and Smackdown Live can become online – only shows.

Due to this WWE could be looking to move their programming over to the online side of the spectrum.

Here is what Chuck Carroll had to say:

“There is no panic at the WWE Headquarters in Stamford Connecticut. This is a trend that executives saw coming years ago, and has been  working feverishly to keep pace with it. ”

The videos posted on WWE’s digital platforms, including Facebook, and YouTube were viewed more then 9.1 billion times during the first six months of the year. However it did increased nearly 20 percent to about the same of last year. WWE’s social media channels continue to explode and now have 800 million followers.

What does the numbers consist of? Online only?

The numbers translates to is the future, in roughly two years, WWE’s current television rights deal expires. The  company may find itself at a crossroads. Will they re-up and remain on the USA Network?

Will they shop around for other television suitors willing to pay a higher rights fee? Or will WWE themselves cut the cord? They have been planning to eventually do this for more than six years.

Make no mistake about it, television rights fees are WWE’s bread and butter; and generates more income than any other division in the company, it’s not even close. The company’s second quarter earnings show television is responsible for $60.1 million in income, compared to $13.9 from the WWE Network.

The content posted to social media and YouTube generated less than $1 million, but here’s where it gets interesting; although the new revenue streams pale in comparison to television, they are growing at an exponentially faster rate. Network revenue is up 85 percent year-over-year while digital media is up 1,300 percent. However, digital media growth must also be taken with a grain of salt, given its small numbers and negative income in 2016. Regardless, it points toward the future of media consumption.

I don’t know if this would be a good turn for WWE or not. However, I can see it losing viewers and maybe even followers on social media. WWE will make the right choice for their company. In the meantime we just have to sit back as fans, viewers, and writers to see what the future of the WWE will become.

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