A cautionary word about analyzing quarter-hour viewership:
A quarter-hour analysis is opaque. A minute-by-minute analysis would be more informative and less prone to be misleading, but it’s doubtful much minute-by-minute data will be made public.
Why is a quarter-hour analysis opaque and possibly misleading?
1. One of the biggest factors affecting viewership for these programs is commercial breaks. More than 100,000 viewers move to and from either program during their respective commercial breaks. Those breaks are not consistently organized at the borders between the 15-minute segments that are analyzed here.
2. Many quarter-hours include partial or multiple matches/promos. Again, lacking minute-by-minute data, we lack the ability to look into which part of the 15 minutes coincided with gains or losses in viewers.
These two factors, and possibly others, complicate wrestling fans’ desire to attribute viewership gain or loss to personalities: to declare who attracts viewers — or does not.
There are other issues to adjust for too, like quarter bias. There are three quarters that consistently gain viewers: Q5 (the top of the second hour), and Q8 (the main event).
Likewise, quarters that aren’t Q5, or Q8 consistently lose viewers.