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Social media interest in WWE is collapsing - is the wrestling biz down for the count?

6 months ago by James Mattone in Consumer

World Wrestling Entertainment, AKA WWE ($NYSE:WWE) just got bodyslammed by critics at Variety, as the company continues to struggle in a ratings slump. Despite all of the company's stars coming back — especially during a "Raw Reunion" that featured wrestlers from decades past — Zacks Equity Research reports that the company might experience a year-over-year decline in earnings and post a loss per share of $0.03 cents.

And while attendance and TV ratings have told fans and critics plenty — attendance for both of its live shows is down 15% and ratings experienced a 20% decline — the company has also appeared to hit a ceiling on social media platforms.

One! A sharp decline in Facebook chatter

On Facebook, the average daily "Talking About Count," or the number of stories posted, liked, commented on, and such, has been down significantly since March and April 2017. That's around the time when Wrestlemania, the biggest draw at the company, had its 33rd show and featured several controversial finishes in the eyes of fans, such as the ending of The Undertaker's winning streak at the annual event.

From then on, the "Talking About Count" for the company never recovered to that high, even when Wreslemanias 34 and 35 came and went over the past two Aprils.

Two! A Twitter follower slump

Meanwhile on Twitter, the company continued to experience some growth right up until this past year, where the change over time in follower count dropped significantly.

By this time, the company signed a controversial deal to put on shows in Saudi Arabia as sponsored by the Kingdom, Hulk Hogan was reinstated into the company's Hall of Fame despite his racist remarks from years ago, and plenty of injuries to a lot of its top superstar wrestlers. The last issue is one that Vince McMahon cited as the reason behind a drop in ratings, but even since the return of those big names, the company's social media traffic — along with other metrics — have slowed significantly.

While Facebook appeared to take a more direct hit from these controversies, it seemed that the company's Twitter slowdown was a delayed burn. Furthermore, it also may be following a general worldwide trend of branded accounts reaching a "peak" in followers, especially as the social network continues to figure itself out.

A potential kick-out? WWE is hiring

The one saving grace for WWE could be the injection of new blood into the company. However, we're not talking about wrestlers, we're talking about the people behind the scenes.

The company is hiring for more people in individual positions than it did over the past three years, with the WWE notably continuing to clean house on its creative team as it searches for a second golden age.

Will WWE recover as it did back in the 1990's, when it faced competition from rival promotion WCW and clawed out alive through a brash and bold "Attitude Era" programming strategy? Or are new challengers in the wrestling business world, such as All Elite Wrestling that has multiple ex-WWE wrestlers and brass, going to piledrive the remains of the company over the next few years?

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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