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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 12, 2011

Conan Crushes the Competition With Plugged in Audience

By Chris DiMarco, TMCnet Web Editor

Everyone’s favorite 7 foot tall ginger, Conan O’Brien has beat out expectations and cornered the coveted 18-49 market with his newly launched late night talk show, at least when you factor in views that are taking place via DVR.

While most rating systems only account for views that take place within 24-hours of the original airing, the way that most people are consuming television  these days (online, DVR) makes this method arguably obsolete. With that in mind TBS has taken tally of all of the views occurring within a week of the original air time and come up with some impressive results.

According to an article by Frazier Moore of the Associated Press (News - Alert) “By this measure, "Conan" has topped all cable and broadcast late-night talk shows since its premiere Nov. 8 through the end of the year.”

The time adjusted views of the "Conan" audience make up a sizeable percentage of the numbers, including 361,000 of the 1,443,000 viewers in the 18-to-49 audience, and 236,000 of the 930,000 viewers in the 18-to-34 category.

In 2010 after a war over the time slot that Jay Leno intended to vacate, Conan took his late night talk antics to TBS. While Leno is still on top of the standard ratings scale, Conan’s strategic targeting of new television distribution methods has made him king of a younger, more connected audience.

The average age of O’Brien’s viewers is 33, while most broadcast late-night talk shows' are in their 50s. The numbers point out not only who the late night host du jour for younger viewers is but also offer insight into the trends of television consumption.

Looks like the national ratings systems needs an update worse than Leno’s “headline” schtick.

Chris DiMarco is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco