- Was country over-reacting to the exciting growth of the last few years in teens and 18-34, perhaps turning off Gen X?
- If so, would the format that has resisted fragentation for decades by targeting broadly across all narrow demos within 18-49 and especially 25-54 begin to split?
Perhaps it was my writing last year. Or, maybe it was just savvy programmers who saw the same thing I did in their local numbers and adjusted. Or, maybe the new music coming out from artists, writers and producers in the past year was more mass appeal.
Whatever it was, Nielsen had some good news for us last week in what is now called "Audio Today 2014" (each report uses data from the year prior, so Fall 2008 became Radio Today 2009, Fall 2009 became 2010, etc):
Country's 25-34 Share Trend
Fall 2008: 11.4 *note that this was Country only, we did not start combining Country + New Country until the next edition of Radio Today
Fall 2009: 12.3
Fall 2010: 12.2
Fall 2011: 12.8
Spring 2012: 12.6
Spring 2013: 13.1
After four years of upticks in the center of 25-54, that slip last year had me concerned and now the new stat's move forward is a big relief to see.
It's called "Gen X" because it's a smaller proportion of the population, of course, so the fact that it's contribution to country's cume is lowest of all adult generations is to be expected.
Of course, the latest uptick is just one number too and can't be called a trend yet either, so you'll want to keep a close eye on all narrow cells in our target in local research.
Thanks to this good news from Nielsen (country ranks #2 in teens, #1 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and #2 55-64 - exactly the demo balance our sellers expect from us) we all have earned the right to gloat a bit right now.