For two weeks in September of 2021, All Elite Wrestling claimed two huge ratings victories over WWE Monday Night Raw. The upstart promotion claimed key demographic victories over the WWE flagship show after back-to-back broadcasts. Many fans believed it to be a sign of a changing tide in the wrestling industry.
Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics recently dove into those same ratings for an analysis. Instead of just looking at the live and same-day numbers, they looked at the DVR+7 numbers. These are fans who watched the show within the next seven days. Thurston shared his findings on Twitter.
“AEW Dynamite edged out WWE Raw twice in P18-49 in September in live+same-day ratings. Although DVR viewing is less valuable than live viewing, Nielsen data shows Raw was ahead or tied when you include delayed viewing in the following 7 days.”
A lot of semantic arguments can be made about what exactly this means. It doesn’t change overall viewership, which Raw and SmackDown consistently win, even when they lose the key demo. AEW focuses on the 18-49 demographic, which is what draws advertisers to the product.
Advertisers don’t covert DVR viewership as much as live viewership, but the numbers in the demographic ultimately tilting in WWE’s favor will certainly be claimed as a victory by the company and its fans. In the end, what fans consider important is very different from what advertisers do.
At any rate, the numbers were still extremely close. As both companies continue to fight for the same demographic, fans will continue to argue over whether ratings mean anything. In today’s world, where media is delivered over multiple, channels, maybe it doesn’t. Advertisers keep the company doors open, though, and until they change their philosophy, ratings will continue to be a major driving factor in the business of professional wrestling.
Do you think DVR viewership is just as important as live viewership? Share your thoughts in the comments!