We still call it “late night TV,“ but thanks to social media, it’s become quite a new beast altogether. It’s highly conceivable that many of your friends who would claim to be a Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon or David Letterman fan haven’t actually watched any of them on an actual television. From the performances of musical guests to any number of funny bits and great monologues, people can go into the next day (or weeks, months, even years later) knowing they didn’t miss anything from the previous night’s broadcast.
And where five years ago, Viacom famously (stupidly) was issuing takedown notices to YouTube for posting 30-seconds of The Daily Show, this new breed of late night show is not only embracing the sharing of it’s content (see Jimmy Fallon’s Hashtags clips), they are creating original social content in tandem, using it to drive traditional media viewership (see Jimmy Kimmel’s prank about the worst “twerking girl ever” ).
In contrast, David Letterman (soon to be replaced by Stephen Colbert), whose leveraging of social media is minimal, has watched “the Jimmys” steadily consume an increasing share of the late-night pie.
The lesson learned here? While it is way too soon to declare traditional television “dead” it is clear that the road to success travels through an efficient and strategic use social media.