How Many Millennials Flocked To News/Talk?

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An in-depth analysis of Nielsen Audio’s January 2017 Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings finds that millennial audiences aren’t listening to the same formats as they did one year ago.


Is the “Trump Effect” to blame? Yes, says the audience measurement company.

“When it comes to media consumption, and in this particular case, radio listening, 2017 could turn out to be a year where traditional patterns and results don’t repeat in the ways we’ve seen in the past,” Nielsen notes in a Tuesday afternoon blog post that puts the spotlight on the News/Talk format.

“News/Talk has been revitalized by current politics and is breaking new ground with younger listeners,” says Nielsen. In January 2017, News/Talk posted its best numbers since November 2012 and claimed a new record among Adult listeners 18-34.

News/Talk Listening Comparison

AQH Share

 Top PPM Share (month)

January 2017

Persons 6+

11.1% (Nov 12)

10.7%

Persons 18-34

4.9% (Jan 17)

4.9%

Persons 25-54

8.4% (Nov 12)

8.1%

Source: Nielsen

In looking at News/Talk tune-in over the past seven years, the format has gained a full percent among millennials, with the biggest jump happening between January 2016 and January 2017.

News/Talk January Millennial (18-34) Listening Trends

January 2011

3.9%

January 2012

3.9%

January 2013

4.0%

January 2014

3.7%

January 2015

3.7%

January 2016

4.1%

January 2017

4.9%*

Source: Nielsen

“Last year was a banner year for the News/Talk format in PPM markets, as listenership spiked dramatically compared to the year prior,” Nielsen notes.

Nielsen Audio will track NPR affiliates as well as commercial News/Talk stations throughout 2017; in the Nielsen PPM-market database, the News/Talk format identifier includes more than 50 NPR affiliates.

The reshaping of the news consumption landscape has also impacted other formats and genres. The first full survey month of 2017 also reveals norm breaks, particularly among millennial audiences when we compare back to last year in the table below.

January Millennial (18-34) Listening Trends

Format

January 2016

January 2017

Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR)

12.5%

11.6%

Country

8.3%

7.9%

Hot AC

7.5%

7.0%

Urban Contemporary

6.5%

6.7%

Mexican Regional

5.2%

4.8%

All Sports

3.4%

3.4%

Source: Nielsen

Given the rise in popularity of the News/Talk format among millennials, other popular formats among this group of listeners lost share in January.

CHR/Pop, a leading format among millennials, was off nearly a full share point. Country continued to trend downward with younger audiences, while Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) and Mexican Regional were also softer compared with January 2016.

Sports radio was flat.


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