How Late-Night Talk Shows Are Harnessing Social Video

For broadcasters and media companies, social video is increasingly a tool for brand expansion and digital audience growth — especially for entertainment franchises. In the late-night talk show sector, where a larger number of hosts are competing over a smaller television audience than ever (historically speaking), creating and distributing social video has become a core strategy for connecting with viewers who may or may not actually ever watch the shows on actual TV sets.

We worked with social video analytics company Tubular Labs to uncover trends about how late-night talk show programs are reaching and engaging viewers online. We specifically looked at clips uploaded by U.S. based creators including, and related to, Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien and Trevor Noah.

Tubular’s new Performance Insights platform revealed that while more clips related to these hosts are posted on YouTube (over 3,700 compared to Facebook’s 2,100), it’s Facebook that gets the most views — 758 million views vs. YouTube’s 389 million views.

Looking at video duration, YouTube had the most views for videos 5-10 mins long (149 million), but close behind were videos 2-5 minutes in length (145 million views). On Facebook, 2-5 minute videos reigned supreme with 298 million views. Interestingly, for videos over 20 minutes long, YouTube garnered the most views (23.2 million), while Facebook only had 3 million views on 20+ minute videos. In other words, creators posting long-form clips related to these talk shows are generally having better luck on YouTube.

Although Facebook grabs more views in general, YouTube seems to offer slightly more staying power. The average Tubular V7 rating (number of views during the first seven days after they were uploaded) was 229K, while the average V30 (views after 30 days) rating was 269K — an increase of 40K. Facebook’s average V7 rating was 349K and the V30 rating was 358K — an increase of only 9K. In other words, after a week Facebook videos are less likely to receive new viewers than YouTube.

Looking specifically at top creators, on YouTube The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is crushing it with 174 million views on videos from the last 90 days, followed by clips from Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco, which received 68.1 million views. (It’s worth noting that although Conan’s show is currently on hiatus and will return with a new, 30-minute format in January, his team continues to publish content.)

And although clips from Trevor Noah have seen continued success on YouTube, his most-watched clip (5.6 million views) from the last 90 days was actually posted to Facebook:

On Facebook, the 133 videos uploaded by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon racked up 181 million views, followed closely by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah with 156 million views across 265 videos. Jimmy Fallon’s most-viewed clip (18.9 million views) was “Kevin Hart Is Terrified of Robert Irwin's Animals”: