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SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT 2012: Is there a correlation between TV ratings & social media activity?, plus proof of three-hour Raws affecting Smackdown's relevancy

Jan 3, 2013 - 12:25:26 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

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After tracking Trendrr.TV's social media activity for both WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown for one full year, I can conclude that the only consistent correlation to TV ratings is on the extremes.

For instance, if a show has extremely high social activity, it points to a strong TV rating. Or, if a show has extremely low social activity, it points to a weak TV rating.

In-between, social activity as an indicator of TV ratings performance is very hit or miss. Perhaps that is a contributor to why the Nielsen TV Ratings service plans to institute a Twitter TV Ratings metric in Fall 2013 that will line up traditional TV Ratings with social activity to better gauge how many people are watching and engaged in a particular show.

- On the WWE Raw side, the show averaged 220,942 in social media activity over the course of the year. During the first-half of the year for the two-hour era, Raw averaged 167,531. During the second-half of the year during the three-hour era, Raw averaged 258,440.

Hypothetically, if you took the two-hour Raw average and turned it into a three-hour score, it would be 251,297, which is only slightly below the actual three-hour average. So, the difference in turning Raw into a three-hour show was not significant over the course of July to December.

Back to the correlations. The top-rated Raws of 2012 correlated to the most-socially active shows of 2012. The following is a break down.

(Rank by TV rating) Show (TV rating / Social Media Activity)

(1) 7/23 "Raw 1,000" show (3.84 rating / #1 social of 2012)
(2) 1/30 post-Rumble show (3.55 rating / up 94% vs. previous week)
(3) 7/16 "Raw 999" show (3.44 rating / #3 social two-hour era)
(4) 4/2 post-WM28 show (3.43 rating / #1 social two-hour era)

On the flip-side, the lowest-rated Raws of 2012 corresponded with the least socially-active shows of 2012.

(Rank by TV rating) Show (TV rating / Social Media Activity)

(1) 12/24 Christmas Eve (2.21 rating / lowest SMA three-hour era)
(2) 10/22 Raw (2.49 rating / at the time, lowest SMA of three-hour era)
(3) 10/1 Raw (2.54 rating / at the time, lowest SMA of three-hour era)

Once you get past the Top Four highest-rated Raw TV episodes of 2012 and the Top 3 lowest-rated Raw TV episodes of 2012, the correlation is lost. Then, it becomes hit and miss.

For example, the Memorial Day Raw episode that was brutalized in the TV Ratings by NBA Playoffs, the holiday, and "Hatfields & McCoys" actually saw a week-to-week increase in SMA by 1.6 percent.

- On the Smackdown side, it was an up-and-down year that slowly lost social activity as the year rolled on, likely due to three-hour Raws affecting Smackdown's relevance to WWE fans.

Smackdown started off the year averaging 56,000 in social activity, then lost some activity briefly after Tuesday specials, and then increased to an average of 90,000 during the summer. During the start of the fall season, though, Smackdown dipped to an average of 75,000.

November was brutal to Smackdown, mainly due to a failed Election Night Tuesday night special on Syfy. Smackdown then struggled in December, falling below 60,000 to close out the year, nearly returning to the same level as the beginning of the year.

It was interesting to see Smackdown actually peak during the three-hour Raw era - the August 24 episode scored 108,482 in Social Media Activity. However, Smackdown was down to 77,771 just two shows later. And, as the effect of three-hour Raws kicked in, Smackdown's SMA decline began.

Aug. 2012 - 97,845 avg. SMA
Sept. 2012 - 86,815 avg. SMA
Oct. 2012 - 75,723 avg. SMA
Nov. 2012 - 62,396 avg. SMA
Dec. 2012 - 57,218 avg. SMA


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