Monday Night Raw's downward spiral regarding weekly viewership hit a new low this week. According to ShowBuzz Daily the episode brought in an average of 1.617 million viewers and while that number doesn't break any records, the show's third hour drew a mere 1.463 million viewers. That's the lowest third hour in the Red Brand's history, beating the previous record 41,000 viewers and a drop in 72,000 viewers from last week's third hour.
This week's third hour saw the finish the Raw Women's Championship match between Asuka and Sasha Banks (Banks won via count-out thanks to a backstage distraction by Bayley, but per the rules of the match she still won the title), a singles match between Murphy and Humberto Carrillo and a non-title Extreme Rules match between Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler.
Earlier this week audio from WWE's Annual Shareholders meeting made its way online, in which Vince McMahon discussed WWE's need to produce higher ratings and build new stars.
"We have a 30-plus year track record of creating compelling characters and engaging a variety of audiences, and we obviously remain confident we can continue that with our collective ability, even in the most challenging environments with no live audience," McMahon said. "The media echo system obviously has changed. We change with it. Our engagement metrics across platforms are understandably and obviously — however, the importance of linear programming is paramount in all of our businesses — we consistently have seen year-over-year increases in a variety of digital metrics and engagement. And positive trends have continued, even during COVID."
"Conversely, TV viewership trends have been negatively impacted by COVID, obviously, and the lack of a live audience," he continued. "We are still nonetheless the number-one television show on USA [Network] and consistently the number-one broadcast show on Fridays among key demos. We expect a combination of valuable promotional inventory from our TV partners with the return of sports events programming."
He continued — "Sure, I mean you want to continue to build stars no matter what time. It is so, as Paul [Triple H] just mentioned about NXT talent. He has done an extraordinary job of creating new stars, and as they continue to evolve, they'll continue to come up to Raw and Smackdown. So there's this influence of new superstars coming into both Raw and Smackdown, and in addition to that, the ways that we now promote talent in a more effective way, [with] digital and social media, as opposed to the normal way. We do not have a live audience and of course that to us is paramount. They're like the third performer in the ring, in terms of our interaction with our audience. So nonetheless it is a good time to continue with the digital and social imprint and this land grab that we have, which is substantial. We continue that, and again new stars coming up."