#DiscoveringWrestling #021 – But why does YouTube hate Pro-Wrestling? Part 1

I wanted to release an article today about WCPW’s recent tapings as part of my #TorontoWrestling series. They taped the Canadian leg of their Pro Wrestling World Cup on May 14th 2017 at The Phoenix, immediately after a fantastic Smash Wrestling event. The article I wanted to post was a hype article, a spoiler-free review of the show (as they had requested that those in attendance not spoil the results on the internet before it is broadcast). It is set to broadcast shortly, at the end of this week. It would have been a glowing spoiler free review. The show was fantastic, with no less than three absolutely stellar matches. It saw local talent excel in surprising, opinion-changing ways. It introduced me to new names and faces that have bright, vivid futures in Pro-Wrestling. It was exciting and well produced.

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“What Culture” may be a dumb, tongue-in-cheek name, but their product is solid fun.

But then on the way to work today this video hit my twitter feed…

WhatCulture are not the only company who are seeing a hit to their financials out of YouTube and this was not the first time I had heard mention of heavy cuts to vital advertising revenue being bemoaned by a Pro-Wrestling organization – nor would it be the last time I would hear about it today. Beyond Wrestling suffered a hit, and so did the Women’s Wrestling Revolution. Beyond Wrestling have publically announced on their twitter that they are getting 1/10th the revenue they had been getting – and had insinuated that their ad revenue had been a big factor in the talent they were bringing in. They have also said, however, that their income streams are diversified enough that they will weather the storm. However, unlike other companies, WhatCulture started off, are most familiar with, and rely very heavily upon their YouTube platform to fund their operations and keep it viable as a business.

An argument can be made here against putting all your eggs in one basket, but it’s also hard to blame a company that has been around for less than 2 years for not diversifying their income source enough to protect against something as unexpected as YouTube classifying all of Pro-Wrestling in its entirety as not advertiser friendly. The YouTube bubble was bound to pop, and WCPW had started to diversify their funding platform with their subscription “WCPW Extra” service – and subscription services are a crowded, competitive marketplace. Unfortunately, this has not provided them with the kind of buffer they need to keep promoting shows at the frequency, quality, and scale that they had been doing previously.

These companies, and many others I am certain, produce quality Pro-Wrestling entertainment. They help to elevate their scenes. They provide a place for people to work. They expose people to unique and different things. All of that is in various degrees of jeopardy because of a unilateral, seemingly arbitrary, decision made by YouTube to protect its bottom line – which I cannot argue against them having the right to do.

What I can look at, the questions I can raise, are about how these companies can, nay must, adapt to the evolving landscape. What strategies will be most effective and what options do they have to compensate and adjust for the lost revenue? As I see it there are really only two options: either promotions suffering from the sucking chest wound of lost advertising revenue find a way to replace that with increased revenue directly from fan pockets, or convince YouTube that Pro-Wrestling content, while sometimes overly violent and raunchy, is, nonetheless, a desirable market for advertisers to want to be associated with.

It seems apparent that WCPW have a plan to “fight back,” a plan so good they called it a campaign. Words of war are nothing to bandy about without actions to back them up. Come back next week when I will explore the options available along both the path of adaptation and that of confrontation which lay ahead of the companies most affected by YouTube’s policy changes.

Do you have any feedback or questions? Please leave a comment here.

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