Report: Talk-Show Hosts’ Pivot to Social Video Results in View Growth

In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has upended industries across the board, including entertainment and media companies that have had to close down studio productions. Many are now pivoting to social video as a way to connect with audiences and deliver a much-needed escape via entertainment content.

A new report from social video analytics company Tubular Labs shows how audience consumption of entertainment content is changing during the pandemic. It explores how influencers, especially late-night hosts, are leaning into video to keep their fans entertained. But first, some topline insights from the report:

Entertainment Category Reigns Supreme for Social Video

When it comes to social video, the entertainment category is the No. 1 creator genre on YouTube and Facebook for both views and uploads across the last year. Although entertainment influencers upload more videos, media companies make up a slightly larger share of views.

Related: Late Night Shows Are Back with ‘WFH’ Formats

Not only do U.S. creators account for the most views of entertainment content worldwide (132 billion in the last year), U.S. entertainment content attracts a global audience, with 35% of its views coming from outside the U.S.

"Digital video's reach has no boundaries,” said Rob Gabel, CEO at Tubular Labs. “With the world awash in anxiety and people physically separated, right now — more than ever — video entertainment is a catalyst for banding global citizens together and providing much-needed optimism during these unprecedented times."

When it comes to entertainment content types, the TV and movies category makes up the biggest portion of views on YouTube (112 billion in the last year). For videos uploaded between March 12 and April 3 as the coronavirus pandemic spread and many Americans were forced to shelter at home, TV-related content amassed 564 million views, with nearly half (253 million views) coming from late-night talk shows, led by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (A&E and American Idol also rank high).

Late-Night Hosts See Explosion in Views With “Stay-at-Home” Shows

With production studios now closed, late-night TV show hosts are taking to social video to bridge the gap and bring fans new content from their own homes — and it seems to be working. The ‘Home Edition’ of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon received a significantly higher V7 views rating (views in the first seven days since a video was published) in the last couple of weeks than the show did over the last year (1.2 million vs. 517K). Jimmy Kimmel’s series of quarantine “minilogue” videos reached higher V7 views than his show throughout the last year (1.1 million vs. 419K). And virtually hosting late-night concerts has been a successful approach, most notably for James Corden of The Late Late Show in recent weeks (962K vs. 599K).

"During this quarantine, celebrities are as human and relatable as ever,” said Gabel. “There’s something fun about seeing your favorite host broadcasting from their personal domain. It makes us feel a kind of solidarity because even celebrities are affected by the quarantine, and they’re still doing whatever they can to bring joy to fans around the world."

How Live Streaming Fits Into the Picture

While indie influencers are used to producing content live and are thus thriving in these times, media companies can tap into this trend too. Entertainment influencers are still getting more of people’s live watch time, but media companies have been catching up in the weeks after the outbreak, with 66% growth.

But there’s also an opportunity for media companies to tap into their rich content repository and repurpose their best performing evergreen content: 66% of the U.S. entertainment content watched from the start of the outbreak is content from 2019 or older.

You can download the full entertainment report from Tubular Labs here.