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Thursday, November 16, 2006
Pro Wrestling--- TNA Impact Ratings Analysis on the Day of TNA's Weekly Primetime Debut
After premiering each new episode at 11:00 PM on Spike TV since October 2005 (first on Saturday nights at 11:00 PM, and then starting in April 2006 on Thursday nights at 11:00 PM), TNA Impact's weekly start time will be 9:00 PM starting tonight, November 16th.
The first week of Impact in primetime will be a special two-hour episode airing from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM, and each subsequent episode will air from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM (yes, it still seems as though Spike TV doesn't understand that one hour of original programming per week is not enough for a pro wrestling promotion if you want to establish characters and have longer matches).
Since August 17th, when the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 4 aired as TNA Impact's lead-in, Impact has averaged a 0.8 overall rating, as well as a 1.1 rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic and a 0.9 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic.
The ten episodes of UFC Unleashed that aired in the Thursday at 9:00 PM timeslot from August 24th to November 2nd beat out TNA Impact's ratings by a slight margin on average. In that timeframe, UFC Unleashed averaged a 1.0 overall rating (compared to Impact's 0.8), as well as a 1.3 rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic (compared to Impact's 1.1), and a 1.1 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic (compared to Impact's 0.9).
However, The ratings for UFC Unleashed dropped off quite a bit in the past few weeks, and looking only at the last four weeks of UFC Unleashed ratings, it was actually out-drawn by TNA Impact in the key demographic, despite the fact that Impact aired at 11:00 PM and UFC Unleashed aired at 9:00 PM.
The last four weeks of UFC Unleashed on Spike TV (from October 12th to November 2nd) averaged a 0.9 overall rating, which is slightly higher than TNA Impact's average overall rating of 0.8 in the same timeframe.
However, in that same four-week period, UFC Unleashed was only able to average a 1.0 overall rating in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, compared to 1.2 for Impact. Additionally, UFC Unleashed averaged a 0.9 rating in that time four-week period in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic, compared to 1.0 for Impact.
If TNA and Spike TV are looking for the "numbers to beat" for TNA Impact on Thursday nights at 9:00 PM, it depends on what you're using as a basis for comparison.
If you're using the ratings for the two replays of The Ultimate Fighter that aired from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM on November 9th as the measuring stick that TNA in primetime has to beat, then the numbers to beat are 0.6 overall, 0.6 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, and 0.6 in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic. That's not a very big barrier to break, and it would be shocking if TNA can't beat those numbers.
If you're using Impact's own ratings from the past five weeks when it was airing at 11:00 PM as the measuring stick that TNA in primetime has to beat, then the numbers to beat are 0.8 overall, 1.1 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, and 0.9 in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic. Impact in primetime should be able to beat those numbers, but probably not by very much. A move to primetime does not magically increase ratings in and of itself, especially if the product is still crammed into a one-hour timeslot (and it's now going head-to-head with two of the most-watched shows on television, Grey's Anatomy and CSI).
If you're using UFC Unleashed's ratings from its last four weeks in the Thursday at 9:00 PM timeslot as the measuring stick that TNA in primetime has to beat, then the numbers to beat are 0.9 overall, 1.0 in the 18-to-34-year-old male demographic, and 0.9 in the 18-to-49-year-old male demographic. Impact may or may not be able to beat the 0.9 overall mark on a weekly basis, but it should be able to surpass those particular demographic ratings.
It will be interesting to see which of these numbers TNA Impact is able to beat, and which of these numbers TNA isn't able to beat. With The Ultimate Fighter not on the schedule again until April 2007, Impact will have a decent amount of time to prove itself in primetime. While the timeslot is important, but it's much less important than the actual quality of the product (ie, whether Vince Russo's booking makes the product better, or whether his booking actually makes the product worse, as his history would indicate).