WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

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Bob-O
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WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by Bob-O » May 14th, '19, 10:35

I'd never really considered WWE's YouTube channel to have a big effect on ratings, but during the decline recently it's made news that they're not uploading clips during the airing of the show any more. I like to think that WWE is thinking there's going to be 2 million people at home hitting the refreshing button on their browsers for 30 minutes, saying WTF!?, and with jittering sweaty hands switching over to Raw from the NBA game. We'll see how that plays out.

But, it did get me thinking about what's going on over there on their YouTube. I know they have one, I know they upload videos to it, but I don't follow it. Curiosity killed the cat, and I dug into it this morning. True to their new plan, the only video they uploaded during the show last night was a promo for the Magee/Hart thing they did afterward. Then they spammed 21 videos between 11pm and 1am.

Because I'm a nerd and like numbers, I did a little math...

In the two hours following the show, WWE uploaded ~almost~ an hour of content (roughly 55 minutes).
22 minutes were interviews, it's possible some of these were on the show, but I haven't seen it to know.
-Rollins 2 minutes
-Zayn 2.5 minutes
-Revival 1 minute
-Joe 1 minute
-Cesaro/Mysterio segment 2 minutes
-AJ 1 minute
-Cross/Bliss segment 2.5 minutes
-Cross (post match) 1 minute
-Mojo 1 minute
-Ricochet 1.5 minutes

They uploaded Firefly Funhouse (2.75 minutes) toward the end of their spam and spoiled the payoff in the thumbnail.

Firefly Funhouse has the most views by a landslide, sitting at a million, while the rest have about 100k on average after 12 hours.

No full matches, but 30 minutes of in-ring highlights, which a few are sitting pretty respectably in views...
-Miz TV Beatdown at 730k
-Evans/Lynch/Flair schmoz at 580k
-Strowman/Zayn at 450k
-Cesaro/Myserio at 480k

So, it's pretty obvious that the channel gets traffic. There's YouTubers out there that would kill for those kind of numbers, and the ones that get them are the ones making millions of dollars a year. But the question still remains as to whether or not it was stealing traffic from the live broadcast. Given what they've uploaded, and the fact that they through it all up there at once, I actually can see where it might put a dent in live viewership. I was actually surprised to see the amount of attention the in-ring stuff garnered... I think it shows that there is still a legitimate interest in the product, and it's frustrating as a digital fan that they can't figure out how to tie it all together.


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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by cero2k » May 14th, '19, 11:41

there's a lot of questions that go into those numbers tho. How many of those numbers are just bots? Foreign? if i played the video for 5 seconds because it auto-played and then i changed it, does it count?

I just don't think anyone watches Youtube while RAW is going on. If anything they'll watch it the next day when everything is up. I think people watch RAW along with Twitter, but not as the substitute of RAW. Why would anyone just sit looking at Twitter for RAW updates when you can just put the show on?

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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by Big Red Machine » May 14th, '19, 12:12

I am decidedly not a digital fan (I never go to their YouTube page or their website, and don't even have a Twitter account), but I think I can tell you why they can't figure out how to tie it all together. Lack of organization, lack of authenticity, and lack of understanding of the role- or, more specifically the roles, plural- of this sort of content.

The first one is obvious. You can't use you a promo or announcement on Twitter to plug something if you don't know what needs to be plugged for that week, and every time you plug something and then don't do it, you damage the ability of plugs on that outlet to draw. At this point, until they plug it on that week's TV show, I don't have 100% faith that it's going to happen (or even feel like it was ever kayfabe scheduled to happen).

The second is that most of the stuff they put on their social media platforms- just like the stuff they put on their TV show and website, has most of the individuality and authenticity squeezed out of it by their cult language insane production quirks, and need to make things all be the same. It makes sense that the same issues that cause people to not want to watch the wrestlers/show on TV would cause them to not want to watch promos and matches on YouTube.

The third one is basically that they treat their website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. all the same. All highlight videos and all announcements and all promos that will air on the next TV show, etc. go everywhere, rather than playing to each platform's strengths. As I said above, I'm not a major user of any of these things, but it seems to me that Twitter is good for quick announcements and promos, YouTube (with a link from the Twitter page, of course) for more in-depth things, the website for articles.
Even if I'm wrong about the assumption that certain platforms are better for certain things than others, I do think that doing it the way they do contributes to filling all of those places with way too much clutter. On this note, everywhere aside from YouTube (which should have well-organized play-lists), needs to immediately cease with useless, click-bait listicles. Leave that crap to random marks on YouTube or lazy "new media" writers.
You should be focusing on important things and making them easily accessible. Inn the past 24 hours alone, WWE has uploaded THIRTY VIDEOS. Most of them are various highlights from Raw, but there is also a feature on Mustafa Ali facing life on the road during Ramadan (interesting, but maybe wait until a low-traffic day like Friday to upload it) clips of Steph's commencement speech at Robert Morris University (which they have to know that no fan gives a sh*t about, so it should be kept to the corporate website), and a f*cking in-house gossip piece that Seth and Becky are dating (which shouldn't be on any of your official channels if it's not going to be part of a storyline, and either way it shouldn't have the same "WWE NOW!" branding as the "5 Things You Need to Know Before Tonight's Raw" video).

This last thing might be a personal taste issue, but when I look at their YouTube and their Twitter pages, they feel very automated to me. It's the grand central computer in the basement of Titan Towers spitting out all of the announcements and chopping the show up into clips. I think they need to make it feel more human-driven and like there is more of a human touch. For the recap clips, I think the fix is to bundle all relevant clips together. Highlights from Rey vs. Cesaro should be in the same video as their backstage confrontation. I realize that this goes against traditional social media metrics-driven ways of doing things because you want people to click on as much crap as possible, but making things easier for fans to follow is more important because, as WCW and Panda-run TNA showed, you can have as much corporate money coming in as you like, but if you chase off the fans you will die because your value to the people paying you that corporate money is because you bring fans (or, to them, potential customers) with you. And, to get back to the original point, doing this would make it feel like a real human had to put some effort into compiling the video packages. Make me remember that there are human who work at WWE's YouTube and Twitter desks.

For promos I would have any promos in which the wrestlers are shooting it themselves originate from the wrestlers' own social media accounts, and have them just send HQ a notification that they have put a promo up. Let there be a lag time so that it feels like the wrestlers are the ones driving things and the company is catching up to them. And if someone drops a promo at 3am and WWE's Hindi Twitter account is the first one to pick it up then so much the better. For promos with an interviewer, I would have them all on the WWE account, but also always make sure to have the interviewer's face on camera, and allow for both follow-up questions and for the wrestlers to respond either aggressively or by blowing the interviewer off or other human responses. The interviewer should not feel like he/she exists solely to ask a question in order to prompt the response from the wrestler that the booker desires. He/she is a person capable of independent thought, and the wrestlers need to be allowed to treat him/her that way as well, including getting angry at him/her for asking questions they don't like.

For match announcements, I think WWE would benefit from a figurehead. The authority figure filling this role like on 205 Live or NXT works best, IMO, as it puts a face on all of these decisions and lets us know that there is a real person coming up with them, but you could even do something like take Scott Sanford and make him the "official spokesman for the McMahon Family" for these match announcements so that there is more of a feeling that someone is putting thought into these matches rather than a computer spitting them out and then the McMahons filling holes on TV.


Also, I will note that there are other ways to help tie digital media into storylines, but I don't think WWE is creative enough to come up with them. To use a cheap plug of an example, in my BRM Books Raw 1,000 and Beyond" fantasy booking thread (which I swear I haven't given up on quite yet), I did an angle where there was a poll on WWE.com asking fans who of the thirty entrants they thought would win the Royal Rumble. I felt this was a fair thing do to in a fantasy universe because the reality is that the poll was never going to be about the names at the top but rather the names at the bottom (and just in case it didn't work out how I wanted I would work that part because no one would ever think that anyone would work that until it was too late), who were going to be Primo and Epico. Feeling disrespected by the fans in this manner then led to the Colons turning heel on fan-favorites the Prime Time Players.

Stuff like that where you begin an angle digitally and have it slowly creep onto TV can be done to create more interest in the social media side of things from people like me who have no desire to go near it.
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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by Bob-O » May 14th, '19, 14:41

cero2k wrote:
May 14th, '19, 11:41
there's a lot of questions that go into those numbers tho. How many of those numbers are just bots? Foreign? if i played the video for 5 seconds because it auto-played and then i changed it, does it count?
YouTube doesn't disclose how long a video must be watched do be counted as a "view", but the concensus amongst the community is 30 seconds, unless the video runs shorter than that in which case it must be watched completely. There's also a camp that insists a video has to be played at least halfway through to count regardless of length, but ultimately nobody knows for sure except "click and closes" don't count.

YouTube, since it's paying out based on views, claims that views might not be 100% accurate because of the measures it takes to filter out bots and that it probably filters out a few real people along the way. They seem to be very dedicated (you know, because they're paying content creators) to show legitimate numbers in terms of viewership.
cero2k wrote:
May 14th, '19, 11:41
Why would anyone just sit looking at Twitter for RAW updates when you can just put the show on?
Because A LOT of people today don't have the means to watch it live. While WWE is on blast for declining viewership, nobody is really talking about the decline of Cable/Satellite subscribers. Somebody was just talking in a podcast (it might actually be in the Solomonster one you posted) about how much fun it is to be A PART of something. Getting involved in a live discussion of things as they're happening. I really like the concept of WatchAlong.
Big Red Machine wrote:
May 14th, '19, 12:12
Lack of organization, lack of authenticity, and lack of understanding of the role- or, more specifically the roles, plural- of this sort of content.
I agree with everything you said. You'd think with a room full of writers they'd be able to cascade deployment in an effective way beyond "maybe we shouldn't give the show away while it's airing".

I'm right there with you. YouTube for recaps and "special looks" and Facebook/Twitter for promotion. As much as I prefer a real feel, something the magnitude of WWE and all it's little moving parts needs managed. If they're going to utilize all this media, the writer's room should be treated like mission control. NOTHING that isn't planned in stone for the show should be put out, anyone not in the plans should be limited to social commentary. Talent should be issued a timeline and topics to hit throughout the week leading up, and everything here should be at least referenced on the show.

I look at guys like Mojo, like EC3, like Nikki Cross, there's so many... they get these insightful looks into their lives or their personas, but I've been trained to almost appreciate these in spite because none of it matters. To get that kind of attention used to mean something, they did this stuff for people that were going somewhere... now you just need to be employed to be eligible. They're not going anywhere, and if they are, whatever they're being spotlighted about isn't going to be what does it. It's almost more frustrating to watch them!

Maybe it's just me, but my experience the last few weeks has been to go to YouTube on Tuesday Morning and look up Firefly Funhouse. YouTube comments section is the absolute worst on the internet, so I skip that, but I might click on another video or two from the suggested. Then I'll come here and pop over to reddit to see what else is going on from last night and if I missed anything (I haven't). But, it shows a perfect grasp of how YouTube should work for them. I go looking for one thing, usually wind up watching two or three things. They get their foot in my door, I realize what they're selling, and I send them on their way.
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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by Big Red Machine » May 14th, '19, 15:20

Bob-O wrote:
May 14th, '19, 14:41
cero2k wrote:
May 14th, '19, 11:41

Why would anyone just sit looking at Twitter for RAW updates when you can just put the show on?
Because A LOT of people today don't have the means to watch it live. While WWE is on blast for declining viewership, nobody is really talking about the decline of Cable/Satellite subscribers. Somebody was just talking in a podcast (it might actually be in the Solomonster one you posted) about how much fun it is to be A PART of something. Getting involved in a live discussion of things as they're happening. I really like the concept of WatchAlong.
But if you're that kind of person then you should know that this is a consequence of your cord-cutting. If you want that experience, don't cut the cord. How can you comment on something you've only seen in small pieces?
Bob-O wrote:
May 14th, '19, 14:41
Big Red Machine wrote:
May 14th, '19, 12:12
Lack of organization, lack of authenticity, and lack of understanding of the role- or, more specifically the roles, plural- of this sort of content.
I agree with everything you said. You'd think with a room full of writers they'd be able to cascade deployment in an effective way beyond "maybe we shouldn't give the show away while it's airing".

I'm right there with you. YouTube for recaps and "special looks" and Facebook/Twitter for promotion. As much as I prefer a real feel, something the magnitude of WWE and all it's little moving parts needs managed. If they're going to utilize all this media, the writer's room should be treated like mission control. NOTHING that isn't planned in stone for the show should be put out, anyone not in the plans should be limited to social commentary. Talent should be issued a timeline and topics to hit throughout the week leading up, and everything here should be at least referenced on the show.
All of this right here.

But that requires the person in charge to be able to stick to long-term plans. Nothing is ever set in stone in WWE because Vince can change his mind at any moment.

Bob-O wrote:
May 14th, '19, 14:41
I look at guys like Mojo, like EC3, like Nikki Cross, there's so many... they get these insightful looks into their lives or their personas, but I've been trained to almost appreciate these in spite because none of it matters. To get that kind of attention used to mean something, they did this stuff for people that were going somewhere... now you just need to be employed to be eligible. They're not going anywhere, and if they are, whatever they're being spotlighted about isn't going to be what does it. It's almost more frustrating to watch them!
I actually find it to be quite ironic because, in the long run, the only people who benefit from WWE doing these sorts of profile pieces to people who they have no plans to push or who they abandon the pushes a week or two in are the wrestlers themselves, as it's thing like this that take an Emma or a Mojo Rawley or whoever and take them from someone who no one cares about to someone who we've seen enough of a hint of something that makes us wonder what this person would be like outside of WWE, which comes in handy when they eventually get released.
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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by cero2k » May 14th, '19, 15:29

Bob-O wrote:
May 14th, '19, 14:41

cero2k wrote:
May 14th, '19, 11:41
Why would anyone just sit looking at Twitter for RAW updates when you can just put the show on?
Because A LOT of people today don't have the means to watch it live. While WWE is on blast for declining viewership, nobody is really talking about the decline of Cable/Satellite subscribers. Somebody was just talking in a podcast (it might actually be in the Solomonster one you posted) about how much fun it is to be A PART of something. Getting involved in a live discussion of things as they're happening. I really like the concept of WatchAlong.
but then the only thing you're doing is fucking your audience since it's the only way they can watch it. People who have the means of watching RAW are not gonna sit down on twitter to follow it with their TV off, they'll watch the show.
A lot of WWE apologists blame RAW's ratings down because of cord cutters, but all other sports ratings have kept themselves steady, if not up, while RAW's ratings are on a water slide down to the pool. Live audiences are also down and those people surely aren't thinking that they'll just follow it on youtube.

I understand wanting to be part of a discussion, but in order to be part of the discussion, you NEED to be watching the show, otherwise, they're not part of anything

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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by Bob-O » May 15th, '19, 18:47

cero2k wrote:
May 14th, '19, 15:29
A lot of WWE apologists blame RAW's ratings down because of cord cutters, but all other sports ratings have kept themselves steady, if not up, while RAW's ratings are on a water slide down to the pool. Live audiences are also down and those people surely aren't thinking that they'll just follow it on youtube.
No doubt WWE is struggling, and no doubt why, but it's silly not to consider that the live product being available in far less households versus just 3 years ago might have an impact on ratings - especially when the majority are casual viewers. Even with less fish in the sea, the more attractive bait is going to yield the bigger catch.

Sports Fans are tuning in usually for specific teams, not the brand itself. I know LOTS of Steelers fans, I don't think I know many "NFL Fans". Most Cable/Satellite subscribers I know have kept their subscriptions because losing access to their teams live is a non-negotiable.
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Re: WWE's YouTube By The Numbers

Post by Big Red Machine » May 15th, '19, 19:00

Bob-O wrote:
May 15th, '19, 18:47
cero2k wrote:
May 14th, '19, 15:29
A lot of WWE apologists blame RAW's ratings down because of cord cutters, but all other sports ratings have kept themselves steady, if not up, while RAW's ratings are on a water slide down to the pool. Live audiences are also down and those people surely aren't thinking that they'll just follow it on youtube.
No doubt WWE is struggling, and no doubt why, but it's silly not to consider that the live product being available in far less households versus just 3 years ago might have an impact on ratings - especially when the majority are casual viewers. Even with less fish in the sea, the more attractive bait is going to yield the bigger catch.
It can be a factor in dropping viewership, but I believe ratings are based on the percentage of households it is available in, so cord-cutters don't actually effect the ratings.
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