Update on WWE numbers cited in Variety article

By Bryan Alvarez
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According to WWE, the claim in Variety that their programming reached a milestone 20 million unique viewers this week was a legitimate number cited by Nielsen, the company which monitors television ratings.

WWE noted that the numbers cited in the daily update today (4.18 million viewers for Raw, 0.9 million for Main Event, 1.53 million for Total Divas, 2.75 million for Smackdown and 1.92 million for the NBC WrestleMania special for a total of 11.28 million) were all accurate, but those were average viewership numbers for any given one minute period of a show. In other words, on average at any given time during Raw Monday, 4.18 million people were watching the show. However, on Wednesday Nielsen provides WWE with the total number of unique viewers for the program. Anyone who watched Raw for as little as six minutes on Monday night is counted in this number. This past Monday (and the Raw number includes Monday's Raw plus AM Raw, although the AM Raw number doesn't add much to total uniques, which actually is a pretty interesting stat), the total number of unique viewers for Raw was 8 million. Smackdown's reported 2.75 million viewers was the average number of viewers at any moment during the show, but according to Nielsen the total number of unique viewers for Smackdown last Friday was 4.3 million.

It was noted that all of the Total Divas replays (there were 15 airings total) were counted, so anyone who tuned in for as little as six minutes during any of those 15 airings counted as a unique viewer as well.

WWE also noted that they didn't take the total unique viewers for each show and just add them all together because that would presume every show had its own completely unique audience with no overlap. Instead, the company asked Nielsen to provide the total number of unique viewers for all the shows listed, and the number they were given was 20 million. It was noted that if they had simply added all the uniques together presuming no overlap, that the number would have been significantly higher than 20 million.

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