WWE may eventually move their weekly shows, Raw and SmackDown Live, exclusively online as television figures continue to drop.
It's no secret that not as many people are watching Raw live each and every Monday night than they were 20 years ago. Many people point to these numbers and claim that WWE is in bad shape, but it's not as simple as that. WWE has a terrific online presence. Many fans watch the product on YouTube or Facebook via the clips the company post. Well turns out in the not so distant future, the entirety of both weekly shows might broadcast in this way.
WWE's television figures may be dropping, but evidently so are everybody else's. Last week Raw accounted for three of Monday's most viewed hours across all of cable television, and SmackDown Live came in second only to Shark Week programming on the Discovery Channel on Tuesday night. Clearly, WWE is not the only one whose TV numbers are struggling as streaming services and online viewing habits continue to become more popular.
All of these facts and figures come courtesy of an article published by CBS Sports last week. The media conglomerate broke down what exactly is going right and what's going wrong for WWE in terms of viewing figures as well as pointing to exactly why Vince McMahon may be looking to move away from network television completely. The article featured a quote from Chief Strategy and Financial Officer, George Barrios, who claims that WWE has been planning this move for seven years now, although he did say he can't say whether it'll happen 'tomorrow or five years from now'.
The numbers are there for all to see. While WWE's TV figures steadily drop, during the first six months of 2017, videos they have posted on digital platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have been viewed an incredible 9.1 billion times. Another impressive stat WWE can flaunt is that despite WWE Network numbers not being exactly where they'd like them, this year's WrestleMania was the most viewed of all time with 1.95 million streaming the show. That's not even including fans who bought the show on pay-per-view.
It really does seem to be a question of when rather than if when it comes to WWE moving solely online. They have two years left on their current deal with USA Network, plus the countless contracts they have around the world with the likes of Sky Sports in the UK and various other networks. It will be a tricky task when it begins to be initiated, but one that seems is inevitably going to happen within the next few years.