December PPMs: Country Down Again, Impacted By Election And Christmas
January 3, 2017 at 11:11 AM (PT)
NIELSEN’s format scorecard for the recently released DECEMBER 2016 PPM-measured market results shows a continued downward trend for Country radio on a year-to-year basis among persons 6+, 18-34, and 25-54, when compared to DECEMBER 2015 results.
Country ranked #4 in overall AQH share during DECEMBER among persons 6+, posting 7.0%, a dip from NOVEMBER’s 7.3. The format trails News/Talk, Top 40, and AC in that demo. Among 18-34s, Country hit its lowest AQH share since the Holiday book of 2015, dipping 8.7-8.1 from NOVEMBER to DECEMBER ‘16, but still ranking #2 overall behind Top 40. Country’s traditional “money” demo, 25-54, also hit its lowest level since Holiday 2015, falling 7.1-6.8 between NOVEMBER and DECEMBER ’16. The format’s overall 25-54 rank slipped during that time, too, from #3 to #5, now trailing Top 40, AC, News/Talk, and Hot AC.
Part of the 25-54 impact for Country is the result of Holiday programming, which annually affects listening for most non-AC stations, particularly Country outlets. According to NIELSEN, both Country and Top 40 hit low marks for the year (2016) during DECEMBER, which is consistent with historical trends during that time. Meanwhile, AC - the usual suspects for spearheading CHRISTMAS programming - jumped 7.5-8.7% from NOVEMBER-DECEMBER among persons 6+.
A possible double whammy for music stations: the 2016 Presidential election, for which voting took place during week #1 of DECEMBER. According to NIELSEN, the News/Talk format marked its highest share since the last time an election was held. That was aided by the format’s highest-ever PPM performance among Millennial (18-34) listeners, which both Top 40 and Country radio rely on, evidenced by their #1 and #2 overall ranking in that demo, respectively. Read NIELSEN’s full DECEMBER PPM analysis here.