Recent viewership estimates for iMPACT Wrestling on Challenge TV in the United Kingdom are now available. The estimates show that the flagship show for iMPACT Wrestling is no longer the the most watched professional wrestling program in the United Kingdom.
The episode of iMPACT Wrestling that aired on Sunday, September 25, 2011 was estimated to have approximately 141,000 viewers. This estimate at least puts iMPACT Wrestling back on the map whereas last week the show did not even register as one of Challenge TV’s top ten programs. This estimate is, however, a decrease of about 8,000 viewers from the episode that aired two weeks prior, which brought in about 149,000 viewers.
By comparison, WWE’s Monday Night RAW aired on Monday, September 19, 2011 and had approximately 159,000 viewers on Sky Sports 3. Smackdown aired on Friday, September 23, 2011 and had approximately 195,000 viewers on Sky Sports 3. Additionally, WWE Night of Champions had approximately 98,000 viewers. Not counting last week (when iMPACT Wrestling had no data reported), this is the first time that WWE’s programming had more viewers than iMPACT Wrestling’s programming in the United Kingdom since the early summer months.
When reviewing these numbers, please note that WWE opted to negotiate a television deal with the Sky Sports suite of channels which means that their programming is on a package that must be paid for by the viewer. When iMPACT Wrestling negotiated a new deal in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, they opted to go with a free channel that viewers do not have to pay for in their cable package. However, even though Challenge TV is a free channel, it is still suffering from a decrease in viewership due to viewers needing to reset their freeview boxes as of two weeks ago.
WWE’s choice to place their programming on a paid channel versus iMPACT Wrestling’s choice to place their programming on a free channel likely has an affect on the number of viewers watching each of the promotions’ television shows. Also worth noting is that WWE has much more programming in the United Kingdom and Ireland (including a live airing of RAW, a repeat of RAW, a live airing of Smackdown!, a repeat of Smackdown!, a show called Experience, another show called Bottom Line, a show called Vintage, a show called Afterburn, live airings of each pay-per-view, and several week in review shows) and thus some folks could surmise that their product is overexposed in that market. However, iMPACT Wrestling was still able to become the most watched professional wrestling program in the United Kingdom over the last 10 years – a phenomenal accomplishment for a much smaller promotion.
If you’re interested in iMPACT Wrestling’s ratings performance in the United States for 2010 and 2011, then check out TNAStars.com’s Ratings War area. In the Ratings War area you can see a comparison of iMPACT Wrestling vs. Monday Night RAW from the spring of 2010 and iMPACT Wrestling vs. Superstars from all of 2010 and the first part of 2011. In addition, you can see all of the viewership estimates (from this side of the pond) for 2011, too. Enjoy!