Posted by: Paul | 01/25/2010

A Change of View

Has Conan O’Brien fallen victim to a generational shift in viewing habits? That’s what a writer in The New York Times contends.

Strong support from younger fans helped boost the ratings for his final “Tonight Show” appearance. Ah, but where were they before now? According to the Times writer, “If even a small fraction of the additional younger viewers who flocked to Mr. O’Brien’s show last week had turned up regularly in his earlier ratings results, he would almost surely still be hosting ‘The Tonight Show.’”

Who’s the culprit? The usual suspects — distractions like video games and the fact that DVR playback is higher during the late-night hours. But the one that caught my eye was “the fact that Mr. O’Brien’s young fans did not really have to watch television to see him. His shows were made available later on Web sites like Hulu. And his best comedy bits would frequently be posted on other sites — and passed around by fans — shortly after they appeared.”

Exactly. As someone who wasted far too much time not only watching but TAPING hours of David Letterman’s monologues, comedy bits and stupid pet tricks, I can assure you: No way, if I were still interested in these shows, would I be staying up all hours to catch them. Everything’s right there on the Web the next day! Why bother to stay up? (Sorry, advertisers.)

To think: I could have gone through college well-rested. Well … okay, let’s not get carried away. There were, as we’ve mentioned, other distractions. But I could have spent less on No-Doz and coffee, right?


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