EXCLUSIVE: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has grabbed the top spot on YouTube among late-night shows, edging past previous online-video king Jimmy Kimmel Live! just eight months after Fallon’s team rebranded his channel for his new show in February.
Here are the latest YouTube subscriber numbers, taken directly from each show’s channel there:
Fallon has moved past Kimmel by about 70,000 subscribers, though Kimmel had quite a head start, launching on YouTube a couple of years before Fallon moved to the same slot. Kimmel built a big lead on Fallon predecessor Jay Leno and even the more socially savvy channels of Conan O’Brien‘s Team Coco and Comedy Central. Now Kimmel’s social-media team has to play catch-up.
Unlike the late-night contenders on the other networks, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report really don’t have their own stand-alone channels, other than placeholders providing the opportunity to buy some high-profile clips. Each Comedy Central show gets its own playlist of video shorts that are part of the network’s one main YouTube channel.
The very fast rise by Fallon isn’t a surprise to close watchers of this particular race. Marc Karzen, CEO of social-media consultants RelishMix, said, “We could see from day 1 from the switch over from Leno to Fallon that there was a plan to build a functional social network for Fallon.”
And it’s only continued from there, including in the way the show itself is structured and what it markets, Karzen said.
NBC‘s digital unit is crowing about the numbers, the result of a concerted effort with Fallon’s team to post a wide variety of shortform content on YouTube (and on other major social-media sites) to drive ratings and audience engagement among younger viewers that increasingly had tuned out during the Leno era.
The network says Fallon’s videos also are the most watched of any of the late-night competitors. They have averaged 4.7 million views a day on YouTube since the channel launched, according to numbers NBC gleaned from its Google Analytics and a service called Social Blade. In the past month, that daily average is even higher, at 5.1 million.
The network also said Fallon has had 136 videos with more than 1 million views apiece, nearly double the combined 48 from Kimmel, 17 from Conan and nine from Comedy Central since the February 17 launch.
The most popular video on Fallon’s channel was his “lip sync battle” with Emma Stone, which has been viewed a whopping 32.7 million times. It had more than 256,000 likes and 11,000 comments too, tsunami levels of fan engagement. Watch it above.