Another very short analysis below:
Colbert's ratings can be attributed to several factors -
- Colbert's divisiveness as a host (certainly not neutral on topics)
- As an extension, CBS' likely trepidation as to letting him go back to his formerly bitey-er commentary style makes the divisiveness useless
- Nerdiness factor that alienates both older and less educated viewers
- Classiness factor that bores younger Youtube era viewers
On the other hand, I think CBS would be wrong in trying to pressure Colbert or threaten to cancel in any way while he catches his stride and can redirect any pressure coming from advertisers that want to push the traditional Cost-Per-Thousand(M) model to how valuable Colbert is to them out of 1 simple factor:
His viewers are likely a lot more valuable on an individual basis.
To put this into perspective, do the following fuzzy math in your head:
How many Wal-Mart shoppers are worth 1 George Lucas?
How many 13 year old Pew Die Pie subscribers are worth 1 Ivy League graduate?
It's a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
Interestingly enough, the ever-evolving online CPC/CPM marketing and the databases associated with them will lead to an interesting change in how viewers/demographics are valued, and will lead to more diverse and quality programming across all media.
Hopefully the Discovery/History/TLC guys will understand this as well and go back to their roots.
[Cynical view below]
On the other hand, this will likely extend into more in-depth valuing of social media shares due to marketer's ever growing demand for more information (than they actually need), drive creation of more intrusive and annoying styles of digital marketing, and what should be a great thing for content creators will turn into something ugly and mutated past its intended application like most things.
C'est le vie.