Sunday, February 09, 2014

It Was Just One Number

I know that it takes three measurements in a row to create a trend and one stat can easily be a wobble, but when you're looking at an average of every single country station rated nationally by Nielsen slipping even just .2 after several years of growth can be worrisome, as I blogged last year when the country format "Radio Today" was released.
  • 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?
Selling country is tough enough without having to explain why your station wins in the 12-34 age groups while the other guys dominate 35-54.

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.

Time spent listening losses drove last year's dip and it's exciting to see it returned to consistent this year with the demo cells on both sides of it, helping support the rebound.

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.

No comments: