No, Conan Did Not Beat Jay and Dave Because of Social MediaPosted: November 10, 2010
I’ve been stuck over the past few days trying to catch up on Conan the next morning (thank you TBS for making that easy via online video that is available internationally), but I’m quite sure that had I been able to, I would have been plugged in on Monday night when he first debuted his new cable show. I can also say that none of that intrigue would have had to do with whether I follow TeamCoco on Twitter and Facebook or have used the hashtag #FreeConan.
Austin Carr thinks it does, though. As posted yesterday on Fast Company, the writer definitively states that Conan’s strong start on the first night of his new show on TBS should have social media to thank:
Indeed, a strong Internet following fed Conan, who debuted his new show last night on TBS, very well. Bolstered by his almost 2 million Twitter followers, a first-of-its-kind social media strategy, and an innovative digital team, Conan soared on the late-night scene withhuge ratings, besting both David Letterman and arch-nemesis Jay Leno with 4.2 million viewers. What’s more, in the coveted 18-49 demo–the same demo that’s probably watching his YouTube videos and checking in for his Foursquare badges–Conan drew a massive 3.3 million adults.
I say hogwash. Conan O’Brien was relevant throughout the last months for reasons that go far beyond whether or not you could check into his blimp as it flew around the country. He has worked hard to stay in the public eye – as much as he could contractually- through the stage shows and then interviews as more of the reins were thrown off from his exit. And, beyond all that, with the terms on which he left his previous employer, the return to late night would absolutely be a media event in and of itself. 3.3m tuned in for the first night to see the return from exile, not @ConanOBrien.
I think it’s also a bit of a stretch of a generalization to say that the 18-49 demo is defined by foursquare and Twitter. Yes, they are relevant among media watching audiences, but in no way does it a standard make, given that it includes such a massive range of people.