Tuesday, 10 May 2011

TNA vs. WWE "UK Ratings War": The Facts

Yesterday saw the announcement of yet more record high viewership numbers for TNA Wrestling on Challenge. I’ve been proud of this sites (TNA UK) unrivalled analysis of the weekly UK wrestling ratings and as such feel it necessary to address the one criticism that keeps getting thrown TNA Wrestling’s way (well at least from WWE marks anyway!) when it comes to these viewing figures – that TNA iMPACT! is broadcast on Challenge TV, a freeview channel whereas WWE is broadcast on Sky Sports which is a premium/subscription service.

Whilst the above statement is true to an extent, is that really the only reason why TNA is consistently pummelling WWE programming in the ratings? It would be extremely close minded and unfair to all involved to put it down to just that. In fact TNA was outdrawing WWE long before it was on Freeview, our ratings analysis archive will attest to that.

Freeview vs. Premium
The fact remains more people sat on their sofa and flicked the channel to Challenge tv on Tuesday night than did WWE on Monday night, and if that trend continues WWE ought to be concerned, TNA’s product is gaining massive exposure right now in the UK and WWE’s not exactly giving viewers much reason to switch the channel back to their product which pales in comparison.

The channel it was broadcast on is irrelevant, the fact that TNA landed an arguably better Television deal is something they should be praised for surely? If WWE were so concerned with this ratings trend, shouldn’t they be looking to move away from a premium broadcaster and open their product to a wider audience?

And let’s just pause for a moment and ask the question that no-one else is – Is Challenge a better broadcaster to be on than Sky Sports? The fact thats its on the freeview epg dosen’t actually give TNA an immediate advantage, in fact Sky Sports is a much more well known channel, not to mention an established destination for wrestling programming.

And if we examine the Broadcasters Audience Research Boards weekly reach figures (That is “the number of viewers who watched the channel for at least three minutes in a given week”.), Sky Sports channels are drawing over 6 million viewers (6,102,000) whereas Challenge draws just over 4 Million (4,159,000).

Couple that with the fact that TNA programming is rarely, if ever, advertised by Challenge/Sky and iMPACT! has relied almost entirely on promotion from sites like mine and social media such as twitter and facebook and it’s plain to see that this has very little in fact to do with the channel and lot to do with the fact that TNA is now providing weekly programming and monthly specials featuring wrestlings biggest names aswell as the stars of the future and overall a superior and fan engaging product.

TNA constantly make mention of how great TNA fans are here in the UK and how grateful they are at just how excited we are about the product, but it should be remembered that WCW was available on terrestrial tv in the past, and even at its height it never beat the WWE ratings wise.

TNA’s success is not just down to a rabid wrestling fanbase here in the UK, it’s not just down to Challenge being on freeview and it’s not just down to it’s successful European tours but it’s also thanks to the superbly talented individuals on the roster and the hardworking folks behind the scenes at TNA that make tuning in every week an easy choice.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy TNA Tuesday tonight folks!

- Ray Mullan

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