Towards the end of each year, Nielsen releases its Top Audio Trends report which lists the 10 leading formats in terms of share for the past January through November in PPM markets. There are separate rankings for 6+, 18-34 and 25-54.
In 2016 News-Talk led in 6+ with CHR winning 18-34 and 25-54. Country and CHR were the only formats to rank in the top three in each demo.
Here are last year’s top three formats.
Breaking out the formats by demo, it’s tempting to cite the election as driving News/Talk’s position. However, while this year’s 6+ shares were notably higher, the format has been the top 6+ format in each of the last four years.
Of all formats that have been in the top 10 over this time, the format with the greatest 6+ growth since 2013 is Hot AC (+0.9) with Classic Rock a close second (+0.8) and Sports (+0.4).
Among 18-34s, Urban Contemporary saw the largest growth since 2013 (+1.3) and has added shares each year. Hot AC also had strong growth 18-34 (+1.2) followed by Classic Rock (+0.9).
Among 25-54s, Hot AC is the growth leader (+0.9) with Classic Rock next (0.7) and Sports third (+0.4).
Over the four year period, Hot AC and Classic Rock were the two formats registering the largest gains in all demos.
Across the same time period, Country was off half a share or less in each demo (-0.4, -0.5 and -0.2). However the declines since the format’s highs in 2014 are steeper: -0.8, -0.8 and -0.7.
Shares differ in the diary universe. This trended 12+ format information is available only to diary subscribers via Nielsen’s Audio Today Appendix.
Regardless of the methodology, these questions are worth considering as we start a New Year:
- What are the major trends in my market (station trends, demo shifts, market AQH, etc.)?
- What are key factors driving these trends for my format as well as my competitors’?
- What should my station’s responses be to each of these factors?
As we start the New Year, a quick look back can be a useful tool in moving forward.
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