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Ten Sports undisputed leader in sports TV viewership courtesy WWE

when Ten Sports loses the top berth.
So what helps the channel garner such
high ratings? In three powerful
words, it’s the World Wrestling
Entertainment (WWE).
As per S-group (an analytical arm of
TAM media research) analysis, Ten
Sports is the leader in the sports
genre with average weekly viewership
of 28 GRPs in the last four weeks. The
closest competitor this week was Sony
Six, which garnered half the
Ten Sports global CEO Rajesh Sethi
and his programming team are the
main reason behind that.
Repetitiveness is the biggest enemy
of quality content, it kills the flair
and develops a scenario of same
programme, different day. However,
the smart programming strategy of
Sethi and team has successfully
managed to avoid that for over a
decade now.
Close to 85 per cent of Ten Sports’
viewership comes from the telecast of
WWE matches alone with a duration
dedication of only 25 per cent.
Sethi asserts, “Ten Sports Network
has been the home of World Wrestling
Entertainment in India since 2002.
Over this period, WWE broadcast has
evolved significantly with an
increased focus to deliver quality to
viewers. The broadcast delay from USA
to India has completely been reduced.
Ten Sports is now offering WWE
RAW live in India. The initial
inhibitions that the time difference
will affect viewership numbers has
been dispelled with very good ratings
for the Live airing, which airs Tuesday
mornings at 5.30 am India Time.”
Ten Sports has sealed a five-year deal
with WWE, which makes the fight
sport their exclusive asset till 2019.
Both Ten Sports and WWE came
together in recent times to launch
numerous on-ground initiatives to
popularize the sport in India.
“The new agreement between WWE and
Ten Sports has seen a host of new
initiatives taken by the broadcaster.
New shows have been introduced with
Ten Sports bringing popular show Main
Event to India from January of this
year. NXT, which brings the best
action from upcoming WWE Superstars
and Total Divas, a WWE reality show
have been getting a major push from a
marketing standpoint and not only
existing viewers are taking to this
programme but these shows are
helping cater to new audiences,” adds
He further informs,
“RAW and Smackdown , the established
marquee shows of WWE continues to
garner great ratings. With prime time
airings getting ratings of almost 1
TVR, we can safely say that WWE has
established itself as a leader in sports
entertainment. These numbers are
second only to LIVE India Cricket and
WWE is closing this gap as well. Ten
Sports reaches around 150 million
households across the Indian sub-
continent and garnering such ratings
in a very diverse and unique market
like India for an American product like
the WWE speaks volumes to what Ten
Sports has done over time to making
this product acceptable at first to an
Indian to now becoming a part of the
viewer’s habit.”
Ten Sports has started offering these
flagship shows in shorter versions,
including a customized one hour RAW
programme called RAW Sunday
RAW Sunday Dhamaal is positioned as a
weekend premier show with a local
flavour tailor-made for the Indian
audience. There has been a new studio
designed solely for the show with
popular faces anchoring the show.
Bollywood is a religion in India
and Raw Sunday Dhamaal has
consistently been using Bollywood and
top celebrities to engage fans and add
a new flavour to the shows. This
marriage between WWE and Bollywood
has seen celebrities including Akshay
Kumar, Varun Dhawan, Shraddha
Kapoor in
the RAW Sunday Dhamaal studios. WWE
Superstar and 2015 Money In The
Bank winner, Sheamus will also make
an appearance
on RAW Sunday Dhamaal soon.
“WWE in other languages and a push on
digital platforms is also priority for
Ten Sports. Smackdown has launched
in Hindi and this weekend airing is
being well accepted by new viewers.
With India being such a diverse
market, Ten Sports is targeting a
specific territory by territory
approach to launching shows in
different languages. Ten Sports and
Zee Group, whose channels have a
presence across 650 million
households across the world will use
group regional channels and will in due
course, broadcast more WWE shows
across multiple languages creating an
increased affinity towards WWE. This
approach will take WWE to the
hinterlands wooing a new, non-
traditional viewer base. On the digital
front, VOD offerings
on tensports.com along with
leveraging social media from increased
interaction and engagement with fans
are the priority areas,” he informs.
Fans selected through contests have
been rewarded with the opportunity to
not only interact with WWE superstars
and divas but travel to watch WWE
LIVE events across the globe.
Further, as per the analysis carried
out below, the viewership coming from
WWE matches has been on an
increasing trend for the past four
years. From 5.7 GRPs in 2012, WWE
obtains 9.2 GRPs per week in 2015.
This analysis has been done for every
1000 minutes of WWE telecast so as to
normalize the duration factor.
The ad rate of a 10-second slot during
normal WWE programming fluctuate
between Rs 60,000 – 80,000 while for
a Wrestlemania or Summerslam sometimes
it touches Rs 1 lakh mark too informs
a source closely dealing with WWE’s
media planning.
Baseline director & co-founder R
Ramakrishnan feels that WWE is here
to grow. “WWE is an evolving
property, not only television
viewership but licensing and
merchandising will also grow. Live
events will play a vital role in the
growth. We saw Big Shaw and John
Cena travelling to India and both Ten
Sports and WWE will endeavor in
launching several new initiatives.
Credit must be given to Ten Sports for
smartly handling the property over
the years,” he opines.
WWE is one of the very few American
sports, which is widely spoken about in
India. Kids start with WWE card games
and then gradually with age change to
Playstation and X-box. After United
States and United Kingdom, India is
the largest market for WWE. Khali’s
induction in the sport has already
raised the bar and got more people
talking about the sport India.
Overall World Wrestling Entertainment
has a lot of room for growth and Ten
Sports will certainly leave no stones
unturned to generate as much revenue
as they can from the sport.

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