The Know Nothing Column #1

Discussion in 'Columns Lounge' started by Slack, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Slack

    Slack Occasional Pre-Show

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    I'm going to try my hand at this column writing thing here. I'll probably land flat on my face, but oh well here it goes.

    When the WWE first launched the Million Dollar giveaway Vince McMahon told us honestly why he is doing it. He wanted to bring up viewership and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Now as pointed out by many, the contest is flawed in one huge way and that is, you can get the password at the beginning of the show, and you don't have to watch the show again. So the question is now, how can WWE bring in more viewers.

    If the WWE wants to use the million dollar contest, let's improve and at the same time you can make it so that they watch all three WWE shows. Instead of a password that is shown at the beginning of the show, you ask a trivia question, that pertains to the current RAW program that they are watching or the last Smackdown or ECW shows. For example, a trivia question could have been who faced Rhodes and Holly? Those who watched the show would know it was Snitsky and Umaga. Some type of trivia question that shows that they are watching the show, or at least reading about it on the internet. But really after the contest is over, the majority of the viewers that tuned in to see if they can win the money will most likely leave, so they have to come up with a better way of bringing up the ratings. That better way is competition.

    When wrestling was big in the 90's, what was the reason? Simple, competition. Competition forces companies to make products better and that is what the WWE had during the Monday Night Wars, they had competition. The reason Nitro whupped RAW in the ratings for nearly two years is because their product was simply better. Then RAW got better and soon both companies were in the 5's and 6's in the ratings until WCW started to die. So the WWE needs to create their own competition.

    Now I know that many feel that TNA is competition but truthfully, it isn't. Don't get me wrong, TNA has many talented wrestlers and I enjoy watching their programming, but at best they are a glorfied indy organization. When the WWE started the brands I liked it at first because you had the two brands competing for not only viewers, but also for wrestlers. I remember when Stephanie basically kept Lesnar as the property of Smackdown making it a competition or when Bishoff got Steiner. So the WWE needs to bring back actual competition between their brands, and none of this crossbrand crap.

    Completely separate Smackdown, ECW and RAW from each other. I'll give you an example of what I mean. General Motors is in competition with Ford, of course, but each of the cars that are under the GM banner are also in competition with each other. The Buick folks want people to buy Buicks, Pontiac people want folks to buy Pontiacs and so and so on. WWE can do this make it work. Make ECW like the old ECW where they mainly work the smaller venues, are more intimate with their crowds and bring back the magic that was ECW. Now with your money brands, Smackdown and RAW. Make Smackdown the modern day Nitro. Now am I saying move it to Monday nights and recreated the Monday Night Wars. No, but it would help.

    What people seem to be forgetting is that there are two types of viewers, the loyal viewers and the flippers. I'll use my buddy Eric as an example of a loyal viewer. During the Monday Night Wars, he never saw one episode of Nitro. If RAW wasn't on, he wasn't going to watch Nitro. Now both Smackdown and RAW have their loyal viewers. Now during the Wars I was more of a flipper, when one of the shows were in a stupid segment or on commerical break, I would flip the channel to the other channel. So to get the viewers that have to be a three prong attack.

    The first is that you have to keep your loyal viewers from leaving you completely. Let's go back to my buddy Eric, who no longer watches RAW because of the stupid crap they have done, like Katie Vick. He saw RAW decline, especially after they became the only game in town. So to keep your loyal viewers, you can't change your formula too much. Now somehow and this will probably be the most difficult, stealing the loyal viewers of the other shows. More likely than not, when loyal viewers leave, they won't be jumping to the other show. Look at the ratings when Nitro started to decline, as Nitro was dying and falling in the ratings, RAW didn't really gain that much, if anything in the ratings and actually started to drop themselves. So if you can bring in the loyal viewers of the other show, you have to bring in the elements of that show. For example, WWE had a roundtable discussion of the Monday Night Wars and Bishoff said that the RAW main events were better than the Nitro main events, but that Nitro had better undercards. So how could RAW improve their ratings and they did this, instead of going after the Nitro main eventers, they went after the undercard guys. Guys like Jericho, Saturn, Malenko and others that made the Nitro undercard better. Now does this mean alot of folks quit watching Nitro and went to RAW, maybe not. You might not change loyal nitro viewers into loyal raw viewers, but you make make them flippers.

    Now why did the flippers flip between the two shows. For me personally it was because I'm a wrestling fan. Some flippers flipped between the two shows to see who actually might be doing better segments or having the better matches. So check see where the competition actually beats you in the ratings and see what they did during that time period and then develope a way to create the flippers from flipping.

    Now even though I said that they don't need to move Smackdown to Mondays, it would help, direct competition is much better than indirect competition. I'll use two local independents where I live, Great Championship Wrestling and Independent Wrestling Network. Both GCW and IWN put on good shows and they both have their loyal followers and the folks that follow both shows. You'll have GCW loyalist who will never go to an IWN show and vice a versa and you'll have folks who will go to both. But this competition for fans cause both organizations to make their products better. If you move Smackdown to Monday nights, you give RAW competition. Both Smackdown and RAW will begin fighting for viewership and they'll fight for the same viewership, making the product better. Also make Smackdown and RAW fight for PPV buys by having them have their own separate PPVs every month. And if you want, have ECW do one every quarter. People will buy them. They bought both WWE and WCW PPVs and later those two plus ECW PPVs. Heck even call Smackdown WCW Smackdown or if you want, WCW Nitro.

    So basically make Smackdown, RAW and ECW their own companies. Give each brand their own board of directors, their own champions, their own media people, their own website and so forth. If WWE does this and it works, just think about the ratings and the oh sweet money. Remember, Vince said it best, it's all about the money.

    I hope you all enjoy this first column. Please reply with your feedback, I especially want feedback from the guys like Kevin Kelly, Scott Hudson and others who are or have been in the business for a while so I can become better at this.
     
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