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What the WWE has learned from its partnership with Facebook

In 2017 Facebook (FB) partnered with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to create the live-streaming video series “Mixed Match Challenge.” The tournament series features mixed tag teams (male and female teams). The show airs Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch. Yahoo Finance’s Senior Tech Correspondent J.P. Mangalindan recently spoke with WWE co-president Michelle Wilson at the CES Convention in Las Vegas. Wilson discussed some of the things the WWE has learned from its partnership with Facebook.

Louisiana , United States - 2 May 2018; Michelle D. Wilson, WWE, on Center stage during day two of Collision 2018 at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

“We learned a lot in that experience; we learned that you can’t just create a live in-ring product the same way that you produce it and create it for linear television. How you shoot it, we learned that you have to shoot it tighter, that the graphics have to be both smaller and bigger because most are watching on a mobile device.”

It looks like the WWE-Facebook partnership is paying off for both companies. In November of 2018, Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris stated that ‘Mixed Match Challenge” showed “unique durability” on Facebook Watch in contrast to its other shows, which Morris lose 90% of their audience after their first episode, according to Morris.

Despite the success of the “Mixed Match Challenge,” the WWE still has some major issues to deal with — one being ratings, which have been on a sharp decline. In December, WWE’s flagship program “Monday Night Raw” posted it’s lowest ratings in history. But WWE’s co-president Michelle Wilson told Mangalindan that WWE is not overly concerned about recent rating decline:

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 8: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle at WWE Wrestlemania 34 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 8, 2018. Credit: George Napolitano/MediaPunch/IPX

“We really measure total time of content consumed of WWE, and in 2017, 5.5. billion hours of WWE content was consumed. So we like to look at it across platforms, and we see that number growing every year.”

When asked about how WWE keeps the WWE Universe, aka its fanbase, engaged on Facebook, Wilson credits user education:

“We had to educate our Facebook users that this weekly show existed, and that they should come along and watch it and keep them engaged throughout the week. ... We leverage our own Facebook page and out superstar pages. It was ‘Mixed Match Challenge’ so they would talk about the rivalry on their own Facebook page. … That would help bring our fans to see the matchup that would happen every week on Tuesday nights.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade

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