Apparently a significant portion of diehard wrestling fans like to surf the Web while watching Triple H and Hulk Hogan fight it out on television. To reach out to these media multitaskers—and provide additional opportunities for advertisers–World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) made its “Monday Night Raw” program an interactive broadcast with its Oct. 3 move to USA Network.
The 9 p.m. telecast of the season debut drew 5.6 million viewers. Exclusive online video streams of post-match interviews led about 35,000 viewers to log on to the WWE Website during commercial breaks. A recap of “Monday Night Raw” on the Website drew an additional 1 million streams in just three days.
And the number of daily unique visitors to the Web site jumped as well. Although WWE did not promote the online video streams–because WWE wasn’t certain the video streaming would work, says Chris Chambers, senior vice president, interactive–the number of day-of-show unique visitors rose 10%, to 678,858 from 616,435 for the Sept. 26 show. In addition, the day-after number of unique visitors climbed 20%, from 738,068 to 886,697.
Because the online elements used Oct. 3 were designed for viewing during TV commercial breaks, there was the possibility that WWE’s TV sponsors would balk at the new initiative. But Chambers says that adding Web-specific elements to the shows has led to more advertisers approaching WWE.
“Some of our sponsors see the online elements as an opportunity for themselves, when they normally wouldn’t advertise on TV,” Chambers says. “They see a lot of Web impressions, and we’re excited that sponsors can see what we’re doing in our online space.”
WWE’s first experimented with tying together the broadcast and online media in August, with its “Taboo Tuesday” pay-per-view special. WWE streamed a post-event press conference to its site, and had more than 550,000 viewers in just one week.
“We have a community of fans out there who get most of their information from the Internet, and we hadn’t been paying attention to them,” Chambers says. “We want to know what they think, and we want them to feel like this is their product. As we move forward, we will develop even more online programming and elements.” Among the elements WWE is looking to add:
- Enhanced WWE Fantasy content. Stats for WWE Fantasy players will be updated during shows, giving those fans another reason to log into the Website.
- Webcams. After matches, consumers will be able to see exclusive behind-the-scenes action and conferences.
- Web-exclusive programming. Viewers will be able to vote for the Top 10 in a specific weekly subject; the call to action to vote online will come from television.
WWE’s results support research released last month by the Ball State University Center for Media Design. The report shows that TV remains the 800-lb. media gorilla but that there is more concurrent media exposure (CME) than ever. More than 96% of the consumers tracked by Ball State’s researchers consumed at least two media simultaneously, and CME is done during 30.7% of the media day. Consumers spend 18.5 minutes a day on the Internet as a result of a televised call to action.
WWE’s own post-Oct. 3 research shows that 90% of WWE fans are multitaskers, using the Website as a research tool during televised programming and researching WWE characters during shows.