Fall TV: Global’s quest for younger viewers

Shaw Media SVP and CCO Christine Shipton on how the network's strategy to age-down its viewership is faring to date.
Copied from Playback - Christine Shipton

Last June Christine Shipton, SVP and CCO at Shaw Media, said her team built this fall’s Global Television schedule with a specific goal in mind: reaching younger viewers.

The average primetime age of people tuning into Global Television before the fall was 48, a stat Shipton said needed to change.

Shaw picked up shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Limitless, Minority Report and Supergirl, strategizing that younger viewers would tune into superhero-based dramas.

A couple weeks into October and solidly into the fall season, Shipton says she is pleased with how the strategy is shaking out so far. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has boosted viewership in the 18-to-49 demo by 50% in its 11:30 p.m. weekday timeslot, according to Numeris numbers provided by Shaw Media. 

“The beauty of the show is that it’s on five nights a week,” says Shipton in an interview with MiC. “So it really starts to give us a good base of an audience to talk to. We are using Colbert to promote other shows because we know the 18-to-49 demo is there.”

Other hits with the younger demo have included Limitless on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. and Heroes Reborn on Thursdays at 8 p.m. Shipton says Heroes Reborn grew its reach with the 18-to-49 demo by 87% in that timeslot versus last year, and Limitless is currently the third highest-rated series of the fall. The success of Heroes Reborn coupled with returning 9 p.m. drama The Blacklist has the night up 31% with 18 to 49 year olds.

The staggered release of the new shows has provided a sense momentum rather than a fractured feeling, says Shipton. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert started in early September and the new dramas are rolling out over the rest of the fall.

“It’s more spread out this year, and that’s fine with us,” she says. “It’s given us time to focus on the shows that are coming as they come rather than rolling it all out. So we can focus our marketing on each priority for each week. Because everyone has staggered launches it gives momentum through the fall.”

Still finding its feet in its Monday night 9 p.m. timeslot is Minority Report. Shipton notes that slot has stiff competition, going up against CTV’s new crime drama Blindspot, which is the second most-watched new show for the 18-to-49 demo. She says that battle is one that still might see some movement in the U.S.

“The U.S. networks are still scrambling,” says Shipton. “You can feel some of the networks wondering if they should make some movement, like Fox with Scream Queens and Minority Report, which is in a very competitive slot on Monday. Minority Report is struggling a bit, in a competitive night, it needs a few weeks. We have faith in it – we think audiences will come. That’s where PVRs will come in.”

With the aforementioned staggered rollout, Shipton notes a few of its key new shows have yet to launch, specifically Supergirl (Oct. 26) and Chicago Med (Nov. 17). Stay tuned.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is the #1 late show in Canada, based on numbers provided by Shaw Media.  In fact, the number one show for the measured period is The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

An earlier version of this article said Blindspot is the top new show for adults 18 to 49, it is actually the second most-watched new show for the demographic. We regret the error.