Have you noticed, lately, that you've been seeing WWE on a few different platforms and in a few different outlets? Have you seen, for example, the success of such shows as Total Divas and Total Bellas (the latter of which we recap on this site), and how Nikki Bella seems to be safe from elimination on Dancing with the Stars (for now) because of the awesome turnout of viewer votes?
At this year's New York Comic Con, Casey Collins -- who heads up the WWE creative team -- said that this was a part of the company's overall plan to appeal to more people whom, they've discovered, make up their fan base.
Speaking on a panel sponsored by Women in Toys -- whose focus is to get women in more creative positions of power at film studios and networks, which is still very male-dominated -- Collins said that it's these fans that help guide the WWE's voice into the 21st century.
"40% of wrestling fans are women," said Collins. "That has helped influence some of the storylines we currently have going right now, as well as some of our marketing efforts."
Collins also pointed out that, through the years, wrestling has become a multi-generational sport (or, if you prefer, a form of entertainment). In the early days of the WWE (back when it was the WWF, for example), wrestling was mostly the domain of white men. And that was reflected in some of the now-iconic characters that were -- and are -- a terrible stereotype in some cases (The Wild Samoans and The Iron Sheik, for example).
But today, many of these men now come with their children -- and in some cases, their grandchildren -- to see the WWE live, to watch it on TV, and to engage with their other properties. What's more, as the diversity of the audience shifted to become more inclusive, Collins noted that having their voices be heard became key.
"We've created an entire ecosystem for our content," he said, explaining that the company no longer relies just on television to gauge and focus their efforts, but rather uses things like mobile games to engage with their younger viewers, and the WWE Network (which is still available for $9.99/month) for their older, perhaps homebound, viewers. "We work on new content constantly, and we listen to what our audience wants and, if it makes sense, to invest in it."
Finally, Collins said that the days of stereotyping in characters are over.
"Diversity is one of the keys to our company's success," he concluded. "And this is reflected in our hiring practices, in our characters, and in our storylines. And this is something that is a source of pride for us."