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This December portable people meter (PPM) survey covers a four-week period that ends the week after Thanksgiving, which means the true impact of holiday music in top markets won’t be fully evident until next month. In the meantime, Nielsen has assessed the available data to see what the impact of the annual switch to the “all Christmas” format across AC has been while judging how those changes affected other popular formats, including Country and Hot AC. Elsewhere, Urban Contemporary built on its success in November to reach some new highs in December as the classic hip-hop format continues to expand across the U.S.
But the lead story, as it is every year when the holidays roll around, is the aforementioned performance of AC stations around the annual Christmas music flip. In 2014, the December AC results mirrored those of last year, according to Nielsen. In fact, AC shares for audiences aged 6 and older were identical (8.5%) year-over-year, and the 18-34 shares this year (7.2%) were just one-tenth of a percent lower than they were last year. The 2014 results for audiences aged 25-54 (8.2%) were also identical to those we saw last year.
What’s interesting, according to Nielsen, is that the growth in AC tune-in from November to December has been getting smaller with each passing year when the format flips to holiday music. In 2011, the format grew by more than 2 points, increasing from 7.8% to 10.0%. This year, the increase was 1.5 shares, going from 7.0% to 8.5%.