Impact Wrestling’s latest TV deal will result in another huge test for the company
With low ratings and a questionable network, a secondary outlet might help out Impact in the long run.
While the company has been going through some massive changes over the past year, Impact Wrestling always finds itself in not-so-ideal situations.
If you recall, their TV program was originally on Pop TV on Thursday’s at 8 p.m. ET. That specific network was shown in over 80 million homes. While it wasn’t always an ideal home, it was something. Then, the TV show was moved to 10 p.m., and try as they might some viewers just couldn’t stay up late for a two-hour wrestling show. Impact does have the talent, and for the first time in a while, creative has moved them in the right direction. Now, that is all put into question with their latest deal with Pursuit.
Home to primarily hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation, the Pursuit Channel became the new home of Impact. There were rumors of other, well-known programs looking to invest in wrestling, but that didn’t appear to work out. The company would move their programming to 10 p.m. ET on Friday’s. Pursuit has grown a little bit (gaining 15% in broadcast distribution), but to many, it is an inconvenience.
Before their 2019 debut on the new channel, Impact made the decision to simultaneously broadcast their show on Twitch, a streaming platform that has provided them with over 69,000 viewers and counting. Known for streaming platforms like League of Legends, Twitch and Impact have worked with one another many times over the years. They have pre-show events before PPV’s and have put content on the platform before, including a barbed wire massacre match that was unable to be shown on Pop TV.
While the TV ratings are going to be understandably low, the Twitch ratings vary. Social Blade stats report that Impact’s second episode on the platform decreased, with 29,923 compared to the opening week’s 39,863. The viewer count on the 1/18 show was at 15,000. While in its infancy stage, viewers are very sporadic. It is somewhat concerning that numbers are already going down, but things can change. Leading up to WrestleMania is when wrestling companies put on their A-game, and with more PPV’s on the way, Impact could be onto something.
In regards to Pursuit, there is not much else they can do. The platform could increase in a few homes, but how much time will that take? As the primary home of Impact, the loyal fans will stick through. Everyone else? That is where things start to get tricky.
As the later month’s approach, it will be important for the company to maintain some sort of consistency in their streams. That includes spicing up TV tapings and adding content that will surprise and entice many. While the company isn’t dying, many always believe that is the case. Are they on their last life? The answer has been yes and no for many years, showing how many times Impact has been able to stay alive and relevant.
2019 will put Impact at an interesting point in their lives where viewership can come from anywhere. The value of said viewership will be extremely important for the survival of the Anthem-led company.
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