WWE TV Ratings No Longer Reflect Popularity

WWE TV Ratings No Longer Reflect Popularity - 20th June 2016

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Google Trends show WWE interest has not declined like WWE’s TV ratings have.

Google Trends data are consistent with increases and decreases in business for companies similar to WWE.

Live attendance is stable. Attendance is weakening in Q2, but it may recover when John Cena returns to touring.

WWE merchandise revenue is up, largely thanks to increases in revenue from the WWEShop segment.

Still, TV ratings are an important issue for the company as it faces renegotiating its TV rights contracts in a few years.

WWE's (NYSE:WWE) falling television ratings suggest the company's popularity is also declining, but Google Trends, house show attendance and merchandise revenue show otherwise.

There was a strong relationship between Google interest in WWE and WWE Raw TV ratings up until about 2013, when Google interest started to bow in the opposite direction of declining ratings.

When we take WWE Raw's Live+SD TV ratings and average them by month, then standardize them like Google Trends metrics (by standardizing the highest instance as 100), then we see an interesting picture.

We see the correlation between the two data sets from 2008 to present is 0.2689, indicating a weak relationship between Raw's TV ratings and Google interest in WWE across that time. (By the way, the correlation result for this and the other examples discussed later are exactly the same if we take the original non-standardized TV ratings dataset; standardizing the TV ratings data set to a standard of 100 changes nothing.)

If we look at just January 2008 through December 2013, though, the relationship is strong. For those years, Google interest and Raw TV ratings correlated well.

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(Seeking Alpha)