Sunday, March 04, 2007

Comedy Central is Best Place on TV For Promoting Books

Publishers say that particularly for the last six months, “The Daily Show” and its spinoff, “The Colbert Report,” which has on similarly wonky authors, like the former White House official David Kuo, have become the most reliable venues for promoting weighty books whose authors would otherwise end up on “The Early Show” on CBS looking like they showed up at the wrong party.

But the Comedy Central shows are also becoming extremely competitive for publicists placing their authors. After a “Daily Show” appearance, several publishers said, the author’s Amazon ranking rises and the daily sales figures “pop,” in industry parlance. It is not at all unusual, one book publicist said, for a title to go from a 300,000 rank to a spot in the Top 300 — not often the case after shows like “Charlie Rose.”

“If I had my choice between Charlie Rose and Jon Stewart, I’d pick Jon Stewart, no question,” said one publicist who spoke anonymously because she didn’t want to anger the bookers on “Charlie Rose.”

Part of the surprise, publishers said, is that the Comedy Central audience is more serious than its reputation allows. The public may still think of the “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” audience as a group of sardonic slackers, Gen-Y college students who prefer YouTube to print. But publishers say it’s a much more diverse demographic — and more important, a book-buying audience.

“It’s the television equivalent of NPR,” Ms. Levin, of Free Press, said. “You have a very savvy, interested audience who are book buyers, people who do go into bookstores, people who are actually interested in books.”

According to Nielsen Media Research, the nightly audience for “The Daily Show” averages about 1.6 million, while “The Colbert Report” attracts an average of 1.2 million.
How ironic is it that Comedy Central is the best place on TV for discussing serious books?

But, I find it is true for me. I have learned of many good books that I have later read (though to be honest it was Charlie Rose and not Jon that lead me to read Muhammad Yunis's (the guy pictured above) book Banker to the Poor). I have also had the opportunity to watch interviews of authors that I had previously read.

What I don't get is if these shows have an NPR audience, why are all the advertisements shown for video games, alcoholic beverages and junk food? Why not advertise some books or other NPR audience friendly products like Volvos?

And I am glad to see that the Daily Show now has their own flash player that you can embed in your site. Previously you had to use Motherload, which was definitely a load of something.

via NY Times

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