The fall-out from Sunday night’s Royal Rumble pay per view continues with this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw getting the lowest amount of viewers in 8 years.
Although the 3 hour show averaged 4.718 million viewers, according to TVBytheNumbers.com, this is down 3 percent on the previous week’s Raw – which featured the return of Batista. What will be more worrying for the company is that Monday’s show was the first post-Royal Rumble Raw in 8 years that had fewer than five million people tuning in to see it.
By Craig Wilson – @CraigW4584
The Raw straight after the Rumble show is historically a significant one. Before the title unification it was the show where the Rumble victor declared which champion he would cash in his title opportunity against.
Even with just one champion now there would have been the expectation that fans would have tuned in to see the triumphant Batista set his sights on Randy Orton. Especially with the pair having history due to their involvement previously in Evolution.
There was also the scheduled, and heavily hyped, appearance from Brock Lesnar which is always a draw due to the limited dates he’s contracted to appear.
Unsurprisingly, it was the first hour that drew the largest amount of viewers. The likelihood is that many will have tuned in to see how the WWE were going to address the fan reaction to the Rumble – which included an altercation between Batista and a fan at ringside after the show went off the air.
However, without the necessary hook to keep fans watching for the second hour and with a third hour of filler prior to the six man tag main event, the viewership declined by around 400,000. Although there is normally a drop between hour one and three, the WWE would have hoped to keep these viewers onboard for the whole duration.
These audience numbers are likely to be seen by some as an indication of the dismay amongst WWE fans at Daniel Bryan not being a part of the Royal Rumble match.
As the release of the WWE Network is now less than a month away there is likely to be frantic rewriting of storylines in order to draw viewers back as conservative estimates suggest that the WWE need the 1 million buys to break even. Based on that the company will want the majority of the fan base onside before asking them to part with $60 to sign up for their streaming service that is launching Stateside on 24 February.
However, the fact is that this edition of Raw is traditionally one of the most popular so such a dip in viewers is likely to be causing some sleepless nights for the decision makers in the WWE. How the company will react to this? Only time will tell.
* First Hour:
This week’s Raw: 4.849 million viewers
Post-Rumble 2013: 4.863 million viewers
* Second Hour:
This week’s Raw: 4.837 million viewers
Post-Rumble 2013: 5.267 million viewers
* Third Hour:
This week’s Raw: 4.470 million viewers
Post-Rumble 2013: 4.927 million viewers