Moving Forward by Dustin T Hull

            We finally have the answer to a question we have been asking since TMZ broke the story back in July. After nearly 4 months of MAJOR speculation on the sheets of dirt, banter between Spike officials and a former writer, and the internet community debating as to where (or even if there will be a) TNA will be in 2015. Destination America and Impact have reached a multi-year agreement to take the brand to the Discovery Communications family. Some have rejoiced simply because there was a TV deal announced while others speculate that this will be that FINAL thing that will end TNA, but I am going to look at what this move could mean for Impact in the future.
            One of the primary issues I hear being thrown about is that Impact will have to reduce overhead so much that Impact will no longer be recognizable to fans. From what I best understand – which to note, I am in NO WAY in the television industry so the way I view this could be entirely false - commercial television programs are paid by advertisers for a section of time during breaks. In the case of Impact, if we are to say 10 minutes out of each hour is dedicated to commercials, then they currently have 20 minutes of ad time to fill by moving to the network.

            A primary piece of the announcement is being missed by many of the fans –
“The series features some of the biggest names in professional wrestling, including Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley and Gail Kim. The partnership includes the U.S. premieres of additional TNA WRESTLING series and specials and provides Discovery Communications with international broadcasting rights in select regions, to be announced at a later date.”

            The final portion of the opening paragraph from the press release states that they are including additional TNA WRESTLING series and specials. While this could simply be an extra 30 minutes of programming weekly, the ad revenue from that time slot must also be included in what TNA will be gaining from this partnership.

            If we assume that the smaller network means that Impact is getting a smaller rate (for sake of argument, we’ll say $0.50 on the dollar), they would be making less than what they were on Spike. However, if Destination America provides them with another hour of content per week, that number is not as substantial as many are making it out to be. If granted 2 hours, in a vacuum these numbers are equal. Again, we know VERY little of the financials for this since Impact is a private company, but my point is that we should slow down a bit on thinking that they won’t be able to afford keeping more than 10 wrestlers on payroll.

            The other primary issue I hear concern with is that it will be in less than 50% of the households while on Spike. According to TV by the Numbers, Spike is in 97 million homes (85% of the US respectively). Destination America is in 59 million homes (52%). It is a loss in the reach of homes, certainly. However, things become a little convoluted when you consider the regression against growth argument.

            Spike has lost about 1 million households from 2013 to 2014 and has seemed to have calmed from an expansion standpoint. Since rebranding from Planet Green, Destination America added 25k primetime viewers in 2013. Not much of an increase, but consider that they have added onto that by seeing double digit growth in what are considered the key demographics from 2013 to 2014. From a year to date stand, Destination America is in the top 5 fastest growing networks and that trend should continue with the addition of Impact.

            If we take the base rate of 900k viewers per week – which I find a fair representation in the US - and use the same format of a 40% reduction, we see that 540k viewers will follow Impact to Destination America… Personally, I think this number will be higher than the assumed math entails simply because I have seen Impact fans follow them regardless. I would attempt to breakdown the rating comparison of viewer’s right here, but apparently the only people who care about these numbers are network officials and Internet fans who look too deep into these things. Seriously, I cannot find ratings for BBQ Pit Masters or A Haunting anywhere. Go figure.

            At the end of the day, these are a moot point for us, the fans of the television product that Impact provides. They may affect the decisions of management moving forward, but we shouldn’t see the massive setbacks that many have claimed across the interwebs. A lot has been made mention about TNA rebranding the product with a new look and feel to the show before they launch on Destination America and I think that is where we should be focusing our discussion on these topics. If you want to find out if you can follow Impact, simply go [HERE] or a quick Wikipedia search will give you an idea of what channel they are on. I personally will be following because I love Impact AND Destination America in on channel 465 on my AT&T Uverse. The biggest reason to follow is that TNA has laid some tremendous ground work for their characters moving forward, but these are just my opinions; how about you the reader?

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