July 18, 2016

Audience Map: Late Night Broadcast Programs

The ShowBuzzDaily AUDIENCE MAP returns with a look at Late Night programs on the broadcast networks. This new format goes beyond the 30 gender-age demographic segments to include ratings performance in key segments of household income and the education level attained by the head of household. And the income and education ratings are not just any ratings — they are the “C3” ratings on which advertising time is bought and sold. Specifically, a C3 rating is the percentage of people in a certain group watching an average commercial minute of a show either live or with DVR playback within 3 days of broadcast.

The chart below illustrates that in Late Night, there is Saturday Night Live, to some extent there is the Tonight Show, and there is everything else.  SNL boasts double-digit audience shares starting around age 35, double or triple the weeknight Late Night programs in the chart.  And although the 18-34 segments are “only” in the 7-8 share range, those segments are also double or triple the other Late Night programs.  But the story is really told with the C3 ratings and especially the upscale C3 ratings.  The overall 18-49 C3 rating for SNL (2.1) is strong, but look at 18-49 in $100K+ income homes (3.1 C3 rating) or 18-49 in homes headed by a college graduate (3.0): head and shoulders above the competition.  If there is a perfect audience profile, it is a bunch of green boxes in the 18-49 female/male demographic shares and more green in the $75K+ or $100K+ zone.  SNL almost fits the profile perfectly, except for its high concentration the 50+ area.  But given that SNL has endured over 40 years, we can understand much of its audience has aged beyond the ideal 18-49 or 25-54 spans.

Audience Map+ Late Night Broadcast Jan-Jun 2016

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is the only weeknight show to hit a 3 share with viewers in their 20s, the only one to approach a 5 share with people in their 30s, and the only one to exceed a 7 share with any category of 40 year-olds.  Not SNL territory exactly, but Fallon is comfortably above Jimmy Kimmel Live! in all groups except girls 15-17 and well ahead of Late Show with Stephen Colbert with all groups except viewers over 65 (who give Late Show a very close 2nd place finish).  In the upscale categories, Fallon skews moderately toward higher incomes and more education, but it is striking just how flat the profiles are with the other shows: just very mediocre C3 ratings around a 0.5 in just about every income and education level for Kimmel, Colbert, Corden and Seth Meyers.

Note: we looked at original episodes over a long period (January-June 2016) to lessen the impact of any outlier episodes and to provide a comprehensive view of each show’s performance in the Nielsen ratings.


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.