Saturday Night Live premiered in 1975 and has aired more than 900 episodes in the time since. Much is always made about how well SNL has been able to change with the times from a subject matter standpoint and rightfully so, but arguably just as important has been how well the show has been able to adapt from a technological standpoint. The way people consume content has changed in fundamental ways, especially over the past decade, and SNL has adapted so well and is now putting up tremendous numbers on YouTube and social media platforms.
Next TV pulled together a pretty comprehensive report on Saturday Night Live’s performance with insights from iSpot.TV and Tubular Labs during its most recent season, and the numbers in new media are quite impressive. SNL apparently uploaded 374 videos to YouTube from its most recent season. Those clips collectively generated 2.1B ad loads. To put that into perspective, all of the Season 46 episodes collectively generated 3.1B ad impressions on conventional television. That’s a great sign that SNL is meeting people wherever they want to consume content, and the additional revenue stream should provide a very healthy path for the show to continue forward, even if more people continue ditching broadcast television.
The numbers on other platforms are quite impressive, as well. If you combine Facebook and YouTube numbers together, clips from the show were apparently watched for almost 700M minutes in just April. The US portion of that figure was higher than all but just two content creators on social media in the entertainment space. That’s a tremendous sign for the show’s future and a testament to how well it has been marketed and how well it is connecting with younger audiences.
With another season in the books, there are a lot of questions surrounding Saturday Night Live, specifically as related to the cast and who might leave. Some of those conversations are always there, but with a lot of key cast members finding success with other projects, the noise is a bit louder than usual. It’s scary as a fan but it’s also exciting. If a bunch of people leave, it’ll be yet another chance for SNL to reposition itself around a new generation of cast members and adapt in new and exciting ways. It happened when Chevy Chase left. It happened again when the original cast left and then again with Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and David Spade, then again with Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig on and on it has gone, but whether it’s replacing its biggest names or figuring out how to survive in an age where less people are watching television, the show has always adapted, and that’s why nearly fifty years later, it’s still rolling.