An increase of 5 years in the average viewer age for both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in just a year is pretty dramatic. Still, I don’t think Comedy Central is worried about either show.

[In] May the median age of The Daily Show viewers crept up five years to 41.4, and the median age of The Colbert Report viewers was up five years to 38.3 , according to Nielsen.

Compared to May 2008, the number of people between the ages of 18 and 34 (the most coveted demographic) watching The Daily Show fell 14%, 15% for The Colbert Report. At the same time, the number of people older than 55 watching The Daily Show rose by 25%, 22% for The Colbert Report.

Overall viewership is up for both shows (8% for The Daily Show and 9% for The Colbert Report), but advertising rates are based as much on who the ad is reaching as on who is watching. […]

“Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert love to refer to their audiences as dorm-living, pot-smoking couch potatoes. But the reality is that their average viewer is more likely to be a hard-working Dad or e….

“When you start to see the age creep up on a show like that, you wonder whether the show is sustainable,” says Laura Caraccioli-Davis, head of entertainment at Starcom ( SCME.PK – news – people ), a media planning agency. “It’s systematic of the fact that at Comedy Central they need to continue developing shows for younger viewers.”

A Comedy Central spokesman points out that Colbert and Stewart still attract the youngest viewers of the late night talk shows. The median age for The Late Show with David Letterman is 54. Tonight Show watchers (when Jay Leno was still hosting) hovered at around 55, and both Comedy Central shows continue to attract the most young men.


Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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