Through the first 12 weeks of the Wednesday Night Wars, AEW Dynamite has gained eight ratings victories, NXT has won three times, and both shows have tied once.
Those ratings victories, however, only take into account those who watch each episode live. Dave Meltzer has reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that when DVR viewers are included, Dynamite has a larger viewership than NXT every week.
On average, 540,000 people record Dynamite to watch at a later date, while 400,000 do the same for NXT. This means that AEW attracts between 1.3 million and 1.4 million viewers every week, while between 1.2 million and 1.25 million watch NXT.
Meltzer explained this is because Dynamite’s audience is younger than NXT’s, meaning viewers are less likely to watch the show live.
This younger audience does affect AEW’s ability to generate significant revenue from advertising. An individual within FOX told Meltzer that, “DVR numbers have little to no impact on the sale side,” as viewers will typically fast forward past the adverts.
For the avoidance of doubt, Meltzer wrote: “AEW is the most DVR’d pro wrestling show now most weeks. It always was by percentage, as thus far, in the 18-49 demo, only 57 percent of the total viewers in that demo watch it live. NXT, by percentage is the second most, but does fall behind Raw & Smackdown (both usually around 400,000 to 500,000 as well) total DVR viewers. If you include DVR viewers, AEW beats NXT every week and most weeks handily a AEW does 140,000 more DVR viewers per week (about 540,000 to 400,000) and even the show the night before Thanksgiving saw AEW having a very small overall lead with +7 DVR viewers factored in. So it’s around 1.3 million to 1.4 million viewers for AEW and around 1.2 million to 1.25 million for NXT of late.
“What all that means to advertisers is a different story. One person with FOX noted to us that DVR numbers have little to no impact on the sales side. ‘When we pull out posting reports, we only use Live+SD (the numbers that come out the next day, or on weekends a few days later that are the only widely quoted and talked out). Posting reports show if the order is over delivering or under delivering and lets the salesperson know if they have to add free spots to an order to get it to hit its goal.'”