The Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP) has released a report on four issues that WWE is facing that is causing their stock value to fall.
The four issues identified by VIP are declining TV ratings, decline in the kids’ audience, the Saudi Arabia deal, and backlash over talent being “independent contractors”.
With regards to audience decline, VIP noted that the flagship show WWE Raw lost around 2 million viewers for many of their 2020 episodes versus the viewers from the 2015 shows.
They worked with pollsters YouGov to determine the reasons for audience decline and found most adults polled cited low-quality writing as their reason to stop watching.
Adults found it “cartoonish” without good or interesting storylines, characters, or matches. Ironically enough, many though the content was more geared towards children when it was also found that the WWE’s kids’ audience has gone down.
According to VIP, the decline in the kids’ audience isn’t solely a WWE problem, but rather a problem of the medium as kids have been deserting TV across the board. The kids’ audience of TV programming has been in decline since 2016.
What is up to the WWE, however, is whether they continue to try and pursue the kids’ audience or pivot and try to get the adult audience back.
The Saudi Arabia deal is also seen as problematic by VIP as WWE is now losing money on it as they can no longer hold shows in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the recent negative attention brought to the company by people such as former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang pointing out problems with the “independent contractor” status of wrestlers could also cause problems.
According to VIP, if WWE is indeed forced to classify wrestlers as employees, the company would need to spend millions to provide the benefits that they would then be entitled to. This might be good for the wrestlers, but would be a significant hit to the WWE’s revenue.