Hi Scott, occasional commenter 'pbreathing' asking…
What is the target audience for WWE right now?
* If you follow merchandise, the people bankrolling the whole company are those aged 7-12, wearing the John Cena shirts. Their parents money, sure, but that's where the impetus/enthusiasm is.
* If you look at the PG on-screen product and the constant engagement with social media, I'd place that at 12-16-year-olds. Older kids than that want edgier entertainment.
* If you follow advertising, it's traditionally been the demographic of 16-25, going back to the Monday night wars.
* If you look at the way they try to hit the mainstream market with Wrestlemania headliners (Lesnar and Rock, and to a lesser extent DX and Undertaker) you're relying on the memories of those aged in their 20s and 30s.
Is a big part of the problem at the moment that they're trying to appeal to everyone at once, in different ways, and satisfying no-one?
Oh absolutely. They switch wildly from serious angles to broad comedy to soap opera romances, trying to be everything to everyone. It's a major issue with the death of the territories and smaller promotions in general, because it used to be that as a fan you had a CHOICE if wanted those different elements. WWF used to be big cartoonish superheroes and Crockett was blood feuds and manly moustaches. Now WWE has to satisfy everyone and it's just not happening. That used to be the idea behind Smackdown, by appealing to those different demographics in different ways to create the illusion of that difference. Now it's all just one big hodge-podge of mediocre.