James Corden, the host of “The Late Late Show” and the creator of the wildly popular Carpool Karaoke, doesn’t care about his ratings. In fact, there’s only one number he cares about: YouTube views.
“We never look at our ratings,” Corden said on the Kara Swisher’s Recode Decode podcast. “We only look at our YouTube number … It’s the only number that’s true and real. It’s pure.”
Corden explained that this is because of the open nature of the internet. “If it’s good, it will travel. People will find it.” In his show’s actual time slot, he’s at the mercy of people being too tired, or a big football game. But if a clip resonates with people online, it will go viral.
“YouTube [is] a level playing field. Everyone is on the same starting block,” he said. And YouTube views show you what is relevant, what people are talking about and sharing. That is crucial for Corden, and for late night hosts in general. “Our time slot is not about ratings, it’s about about relevance,” he said.
But even beyond late night shows, Corden feels the concept of ratings is a bit off as a measurement of success. “I find ratings a sort of odd thing,” he said. He used Netflix’s hit “House of Cards” as an example. No one except a few people at Netflix know what the ratings are. Even Kevin Spacey has no idea, Corden said. “Yet we would never disagree that it’s a hit,” he said. “You know if something is a hit, and you know if something works.”