During an AdFreeShows.com exclusive episode of Strictly Business, Eric Bischoff talked about the future of AEW with the news of Discovery and WarnerMedia announcing a merger.
The WWE Hall of Famer spoke about AEWs value as a company and why nobody knows whether or not David Zaslav (President and CEO of Discovery) will keep the company around given that the money AEW is generating is not public.
“No way of knowing,” Bischoff said while talking about whether or not AEW is a successful company in terms of profit. “And again, I hear so much, I read so much from dirt sheet writers and people. There’s no way of knowing, and here’s why I say that: you can’t just look at the average million viewers that AEW does give or take.
“They’re steady, holding a course at about a million viewers a week, that’s pretty cool and usually ends up in the top five on Wednesdays. Yay team, hey, we are doing great on Wednesday night prime time on cable television, but what does it really mean in terms of dollars? That depends on who’s advertising on the show.
“Are those premium dollars? Are those high CPM costs per thousand dollars from advertisers that are looking specifically at the demographic and the social-economic demographic of the people that are watching that show? Right now, if I’m Tony, I’m taking some comfort in knowing that they’re cutting costs, they want to save money, and historically, Discovery and Zaslav have focused on non-scripted programming.
“That’s good news, but going back to AEW as well as WWE because the same is true for both companies. Their value is directly related to the revenue they’re generating. We don’t know how much money AEW is generating. That’s a secret. We don’t know, nobody reports on it, nobody speculates on it.”
Continuing to talk about the impact the merger will have on AEW, Eric Bischoff gave a rough estimate of what he believes it costs Tony Khan to produce a single Dynamite. The former WCW President touched on ad dollars being a big indicator of whether or not AEW has been a success and why it’s a key factor in what’s next for the company.
“My guess is the cost of producing that show when they’re having to travel and doing it live, I would be shocked if they were able to produce that show for less than $450,000 an episode,” Bischoff said. “That doesn’t include talent, I’m talking about producing the show. There’s half that $865,000 a week, now you’ve got to throw talent on top of that, now you’ve got to throw travel on top of that, now you’ve got to throw a lot of things on top of that.
“So it’s hard to say whether AEW is profitable or not. I don’t know, in terms of how does TBS look at Dynamite? That all depends on how well they’re doing with their advertising. Are they getting premium ad dollars or are they getting mid-tier ad dollars? Are they getting opportunistic buys? So since none of us know that, AEW could be overdelivering to TBS on those expectations or they could be underdelivering.
“What are they getting for that prime-time real estate? Are they getting premium ad dollars like they would if they had a beautiful home on it, or are they just getting by because they’ve got a mobile home on a beautiful piece of property? It’s the ad dollars that AEW is generating that is going to become one of, not the determining factor. Nobody that’s watching that show, that’s writing about it, talking about it, has any f***ing clue what those numbers are. Therein lies one of the key factors in what happens to AEW.”