Raw viewership has declined the point where the three hour show brings in an average of well under two million viewers each Monday night. This is a trend that WWE executives are always asked about during their quarterly investors call.
Ten months ago, Vince McMahon didn’t put much blame for the downward ratings trajectory on the coronavirus pandemic. He instead suggested it was because new talent still needed to get over.
Two days ago on their Q4 2020 investors call, WWE President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan offered a different response: The pandemic does hold television viewership back, but WWE isn’t actually losing eyeballs on their product. Here are his exact words:
“We don’t believe that we’ve lost eyeballs. We believe eyeballs tend to shift from linear to digital platforms. So if you look at even our Facebook numbers, which are significantly up the last six months or so, including the revenue against those numbers, we think the eyeballs are there. Like I said, we’re always looking to grow ratings. So now that we’re coming out of a competitive presidential race that a lot of people were focused on, we’re still all in the midst of a virus that a lot of people are focused on, we believe with a continued great in-ring product, that the eyeballs are continuing to grow and will result in more linear eyeballs as some of the other stuff that I just mentioned passes. So we feel good about our position and we think our network partners do as well.”
Khan said the word “eyeballs” so many times in that response that I couldn’t help but think of Rey Mysterio losing his eyeball at the hands of Seth Rollins and Murphy last summer. But silly kayfabe reference aside, Khan is presenting a serious argument about why he believes there is very strong interest in WWE’s product, despite the falling TV numbers.
What do you think of Khan’s argument?