While “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” continues to dominate viewership numbers in traditional TV late-night programming, a majority of the show’s overall viewing -- including digital – is not being paid for by advertisers (or perhaps subscribers).
In a Comcast earnings call, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said about “Tonight”: “We think about 70 percent of the views of [“The Tonight Show”] occur online, and the majority of those views are completely unmonetized."
This continues to drive senior TV executives crazy: That there isn’t good enough measurement of premium digital video consumption for monetization.
Media spillage will continue until everyone come to terms about where the monetary value lies -- especially as more premium TV programming is consumed digitally.
We can imagine a lot of “Tonight” viewing is of short-form pieces -- five minutes or less -- especially for the highly touted musical segments that Fallon, most times along with special guests, is famous for.
TV Everywhere proponents says increased viewing on authenticated platforms will help monetization. But that's only a small piece of the puzzle.
A growing segment of advertisers want to target audiences, not TV programs -- a measurement yielding specific ROI they’ll pay for. So TV networks look to at least work within a framework where advertisers have a mindset to alter some measurement changes. Last June during the upfront market, TV networks pushed many to extend their rating-guaranteed upfront deals from C3 to C7 viewing guarantees.
C7 is the average commercial ratings plus seven days of time shifting; C3 (commercial ratings plus three days of time shifting) still represents the vast majority of national TV deals. Estimates are that shifting to C7 could raise advertising revenue to TV networks anywhere from 2% to 4%.
Until then, there will be many other popular programs whose lack of full monetization will bother senior TV executives, perhaps for years to come.
Maybe networks complaining that online viewing isn't being "paid for" should stop putting all their content online for free? You can't have it both ways. If you use online views to build up excitement for your brand (which is certainly NBC's approach) you then can't cry that your free views are, well, free.