ABC remained the clear-cut ratings destination for ball-dropping festivities on New Year’s Eve again this year, with more than 35 million viewers watching the Alphabet’s coverage at the magical midnight minute, according to final Nielsen national estimates.
Overall, viewership for the hour surrounding midnight was down a smidge at ABC this year (22.0 million vs. 22.7 million and a 7.1 rating in adults 18-49 vs. a 7.2 a year earlier), according to Nielsen estimates for the 11:30 p.m.-12:39 a.m. portion of the night. But “Rockin’ Eve” crushed its combined NBC-Fox competition by similar margins to the previous year — by 75% in total viewers (22.0 million vs. 12.6 million) and by 58% in adults 18-49 viewers (9.0 million vs. 5.7 million).
And tune-in was up vs. last year in adults 18-34 (5.7 vs. 5.6) and the key male demos of men 18-34 (5.3 vs. 4.9), men 18-49 (6.8 vs. 6.5) and men 25-54 (7.7 vs. 7.5). These upticks are likely due to spillover viewers from sister network ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff semifinal game between Alabama and Michigan State, which wrapped around 11:40 p.m. ET. ABC featured a onscreen bug in the upper right corner during coverage of the game telling viewers in the Eastern part of the country what musical acts were on stage over on the broadcast network.
Viewership peaked on ABC at 12:01 a.m. with an average of 35.28 million viewers, up 7% vs. the same minute last year.
The final hour of “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (from 1:09-2:07 a.m.) attracted an average audience of 6.8 million viewers and a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 (3.1 million in the demo). This segment was up year to year by 1% in total viewers (vs. 6.7 million) and 4% in the demo (from 2.3 rating).
For the night (including primetime and late-night), ABC’s 2015 New Year’s Eve coverage reached 59.21 million unique viewers who watched six or more minutes, up 16% from last year (50.84 million).