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Nielsen Reveals Holiday Listening Trends

Middays, evenings top 2012 holiday music listening

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Now that the annual programming flips to holiday music are in full swing, Nielsen takes a look at holiday programming from 2012, and comes away with some insights about emerging trends.

The midday daypart (Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.) led the holiday ratings, with listening peaking during the 12 p.m. hour over the four-week stretch from early December to New Year’s Day. Last year, the audience size during middays increased 71% from when the stations were not in the all-Christmas format, according to Nielsen.

However, that wasn’t where the most dramatic changes due to holiday music happened. The numbers for the nighttime (defined as Monday–Friday, 7 p.m.–midnight) slot were really high compared with the normal results after sundown. During the course of the holiday ratings season, nights saw a 129% increase and — a 582% lift on Christmas Eve, says the audience research firm.

To put that last stat in perspective, the normal nighttime average quarter-hour audience — the average number of listeners tuned in during a given 15-minute period — on these stations in 2012 was 291,700. On Christmas Eve, it was 1.9 million.

Last year in the top 48 Portable People Meter markets measured by Nielsen, 28.4 million Americans tuned to an “All Christmas” radio station on Dec. 24.