Is that really a sustainable business model? If wrestling only catered to a single generation, "growing up" with the fans, the WWF would be out of a program within a single lifetime. I guess wrestling could evolve into a cyclic existence: kids' program to teenage risqué to grownup entertainment to elderly programming (which is almost back to kids' tv), and repeat. Even then, though, wouldn't following a generation of people throughout their lives financially exhaust their wrestling budget? There are only so many wrestling shirts you can buy, after all (though I have friends who would beg to differ), and an individual is only going to make a single subscription to the network of $9.99/month. Wouldn't it be more financially prudent to try to program either for multiple age groups simultaneously or to focus on an age group with a constant influx of new faces? If you watched wrestling as a kid, you might want your kids to watch it too (but not if you watched in the 50s-60s, and you're letting your kids watch in the 90s... And if you were a fan in the 90s, you shouldn't want your kids to watch that...). What about [potential] fans of the same generation who were just a few years outside Vince's intended audience (e.g. the little brother of the teenaged fan)? Arguably, we (meaning me... Born in the 90s) missed Vince's interest group. The Attitude Era of wrestling didn't align with our teenage years, and the focus now seems to be mostly to a younger or older people group (the Family Model). We shouldn't like wrestling; it hasn't been catered to us. Maybe that means that Vince's model is not as flawed as I think, or maybe it means that The WWE is moving away from such a focused demographic. Either way, the product has somehow captured our attention, and we continue to feed the business with our T-shirt obsessions. And fake championship belts. Those are cool.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Outside the Demographic
I really enjoyed "Growing up and Growing More Risqué by Henry Jenkins IV in Steel Chair to the Head this weekend. It proposed the very interesting concept that the WWF "grew up" alongside its once young Hulkamaniacs. I think Jenkins is completely right in his assessment, but I question the business side of Vince's methods.