Although the ratings for WWE Raw and Smackdown are about half of what they were a decade ago, the unique numbers of weekly viewers only decreased by 20% between 2000 and 2009. The PPV buyrate numbers are down far more than that, however, due to a combination of factors such as less star power, more repetition on the cards and competition from UFC. A big change is that in 2000 the audience watched Raw and Smackdown virtually every week, yet by this point the audience is less invested in the product. The viewers are more willing to miss episodes and thus the ratings have fallen. There is a sense that WWE draws an older audience, with the average viewer age being 37-40 in 2009 as opposed to 24-25 in 2000, that those who are parents will only watch the shows if they feel the content is appropriate for family viewing. On the other hand, the children’s demographic that the new PG content is geared towards has dropped the most of any age group from 2000. It has fallen from 37-39% to just 25-30% of the audience by 2009. This is a percentage of a lower base number and does not include those who would watch WCW back in the day.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, 31 May 2010 (subscribe here)