The decline in linear TV viewership is not a new phenomenon, but the recent data from Nielsen reveals that things have deteriorated quite a bit. When I last mentioned this a month ago, I made sure to note that what has happened to “The Daily Show” has also happened to TV in general. Multiple generations have stopped paying for TV altogether and are now spending time on streaming services such as Netflix or social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
Those who still watch TV are an aging and shrinking group, as indicated by data from Nielsen. It used to attract 103 million people a night in 2015, but that number has now decreased to 57 million. Additionally, the median age of TV viewers has jumped from 51 to 62.
Nielsen’s data also reveals the decline in average viewership across both prime-time TV and late-night TV since 2015, particularly among the youngest adult viewers. The median age of TV’s remaining viewers has continued to rise as well. It’s not surprising to see these trends, but it’s still striking to see the data laid out so plainly.
As for Stewart and his fans, it remains to be seen how they will fare against this backdrop. Despite the declining viewership numbers, “The Daily Show” remains one of the most popular late-night talk shows on television, with an average of 3.9 million viewers per night in 2020 according to Nielsen. However, it’s clear that the competition is fierce, and streaming services are becoming increasingly popular among younger generations who may never even consider watching traditional TV again.