In just one month, Conan O’Brien has lowered the median age of the Tonight Show audience by 10 years, from 55 to 45, the New York Times reports. Conan has radically reshaped the demographics of the program by drawing an unprecedented number of new viewers aged 18 to 34—and losing many older viewers. The shift may change the way NBC sells the show to advertisers.
“All audiences have value, but the 18 to 49 audience has more value,” said an industry analyst. “You will make higher profits if you win with that audience.” NBC officials may care less about a smaller overall audience as long as Conan can lure the more lucrative younger market. “You can still say you’re the No. 1 show if you are more profitable,” said the analyst.