On December 31, NHK aired its annual year end music show, Kohaku Uta Gassen. The show had an average rating of 37%, the lowest in the show’s 65 year history. In comparison, 2013’s show had an average rating of 40.7%, while the 2014 show’s average rating was 38.65%. At its peak in 1963, the show had an average rating of 84.1%. All of the ratings reported were measured by television audience research company Video Research and represent the Kanto region.
Once beloved by all generations, this year’s show “failed to attract people who never watched Kohaku,” stated music industry analyst Takashi Usui. He followed up that statement by saying that the ratings do not count people who watched the show on smartphones, meaning that Kohaku Uta Gassen has the potential to make a comeback. “Young people used to think ‘Kohaku’ was uncool. This image is waning and the show can increase its popularity by using more ingenuity in production and a wiser order for the singers,” he said. “Artists popular with youths appeared early in the show, and its finale consisted only of safe options based on past hit songs. There were no surprises, which ought to be a characteristic of a live program.”
Kohaku Uta Gassen has been divided into two parts since 1989. The rating for the second part, which includes the finale, is considered the show’s primary barometer of popularity. This year, that portion of the show garnered a rating of 39.2%, compared to 44.5% in 2013 and 42.2% in 2014. The rating for the first part of the show had a rating of 34.8%. The rating for the first part of the 2013 show was 36.9% and fell to 35.1% in 2014.