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 remains the most watched professional wrestling program in the United Kingdom.
The episode of iMPACT Wrestling that aired on Sunday, January 1, 2012 was estimated to have approximately 200,000 viewers. The prior week’s episode – which aired on Christmas night – did not register as one of the top ten programs on Challenge TV for the week, with assumed viewership less than 114,000. However, the estimate for the January 1, 2012 episode of iMPACT Wrestling is an increase of about 49,000 viewers from the episode which aired on December 18, 2011, which brought in about 151,000 viewers.
By comparison, the live airing of WWE’s Monday Night RAW on Monday, December 26, 2011 had approximately 121,000 viewers. The live airing of WWE’s Smackdown on Friday, December 30, 2011 had approximately 102,000 viewers.
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 as a part of their cable package. 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 Northern Ireland (including a live airing of RAW, a repeat of RAW, a live airing of Smackdown!, a repeat of Smackdown!, NXT, a show called Experience, another show called Bottom Line, a show called Vintage, a show called Afterburn, and live airings of pay-per-views). With all of these programs airing throughout the week some observers could surmise that the WWE product is overexposed in this market. However, iMPACT Wrestling is still the most watched professional wrestling program in the United Kingdom over the last 10 years – a phenomenal accomplishment for the younger, smaller promotion.
Interested in learning more about how iMPACT Wrestling’s historical ratings and viewership numbers? If so, 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. Also, you can see a comparison of iMPACT Wrestling’s viewership numbers from week-to-week (from this side of the pond) in 2011 and the beginning of the ratings and viewership tracking information for 2012. Enjoy!