Monday, 1 July 2013

TNA Analysed 12 - On the road to nowhere

2013 isn't exactly lighting up the tills for TNA so to speak.  Recently the company decided to try and save money by cutting the number of pay per view shows down to four because copying WWE and it's monthly pay per view format only resulted in them losing money every month.  This strategy was actually pretty sound since it meant TNA could now put more money into each of the remaining shows and really build them up via advertising and good storylines with a slow burn.

Of course this is TNA and things don't work logically with management in that company.  They instead decide that since they have saved all this money from not running monthly pay per views, they can now go on the road every fortnight thus spending the same amount or more money pointlessly travelling the country performing for marginally bigger crowds.  It's true that the impact zone had it's limitations since you had to rely on your fans travelling to you to see the show and they got in for free, but coming to them isn't going to generate a massive windfall in cash anyway.  There are several problems with this current setup chief among them is the fact that they record two weeks of shows in one night at each location.  This means that when you watch TNA in say Chicago one week, the following week they are still in the same location but everyone in the show pretends it's a new week.  Unfortunately for them the crowd is still the same so the illusion is immediately broken.  They also continue to make mistakes with their editing such as playing conversations between characters backstage out of order, so if a wrestler is cut during a match he is suddenly fine backstage with no injury.  Interviews that are supposed to be after some in ring event are in fact pretaped because you can hear the match that was on prior to the act they apparently just performed.  The list goes on.

Attendance for these events aren't exactly stellar either with some reaching a respectable 1000-1500 but others do abysmally around the 200-500 mark, meaning that with all the costs involved in renting the arena, setting up, paying travel for the crew, catering and more the money made from the gate probably doesn't break even on some events.  This on the road idea hasn't even improved the cable ratings as the show has consistently done a 0.80-0.90 rating which averages around a million viewers.  Now a million people isn't something to sniff at, hell a million blog visitors for me each week would be something I would be over the fucking moon with, but then you have to consider the competition not just from WWE, but also from every other show on Spike and it's competitors and that million is tiny compared.  Maybe TNA are willing to lose money to make money in the future but as it is they aren't doing anything particularly new from their standard product.  I also wonder if the talent still have to pay for their own travel meaning they could be losing money to in this deal.

This new "on the road" idea is simply another attempt to pretend to be like WWE but on a far lower budget.  Almost as bad as the Monday night wars idea Bischoff launched back in 2010 which also tanked viciously when the ratings consistently showed a steady decline of viewers, this new strategy will end in failure also.  Of course TNA aren't entirely done with the monthly pay per view idea completely as they decided to record several "in your house" style shows named One night only that have absolutely fuck all to do with the current storylines of the main show and are simply there to get people to pay up a little cash for a shitty show.  We have already seen the X-Division show which was passable, the knockouts only show which was dire and the wild card tag tournament show was so boring it made Gunner look interesting.  Of course we can all look forward to the ECW reunion show train wreck later this year where you can see all your old time favourites half kill themselves for a crowd that is tiny and doesn't really give a shit anymore.

I just don't understand the logic from the initially good idea of saving money by slashing your pay per view numbers down, to then spending all that money on going on the road for mixed crowds and very little improvement in your TV ratings if any.  They had a perfect opportunity to improve their remaining four shows with bigger and more impressive storylines.  Spending some that cash they saved on improving these shows and maybe doing something special for each would probably drum up way more interest and maybe make more people buy the show.  I can't see the buy rates for these shows going up any with the current product, since outside of cutting the number down they haven't improved the product.

The road shows themselves are probably a great thing for existing fans and it's nice to see TNA going out there to the fans, but this again isn't doing anything to improve the product.  If anything this has only caused more problems with bad editing and other gaffs such as slapping the #impactlive logo on the screen when the show is entirely pretaped and switching timeslots for the show to run head to head with the NBA, which apparently is suicide for any pro wrestling show in ratings terms.

In the end the show is still running as normal but now with a slightly different background that is partially tarped off or kept out of shot as much as possible.  I expect them to stop this on the road experiment with the conclusion of Bound for glory when they look over the cash flow situation.  But hey prove me wrong TNA, prove me wrong.


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