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Spanish king's Christmas message hits 18 year ratings low

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Spanish king's Christmas message hits 18 year ratings low
Spain's King Felipe VI delivering his Christmas message. Photo: Casa del Rey
16:21 CET+01:00
The 2016 edition of the traditional televised Christmas message recorded by Spain's king appears to have fallen somewhat flat, as it achieved the lowest ratings for the slot in 18 years.

Almost six million (5.82 million) Spaniards watched King Felipe VI's broadcast on Christmas Eve, 844,000 fewer than last year. Its 57.6 percent audience share was 7.5 points lower than 2015, meanwhile.

That's a far cry from the numbers predecessor King Juan Carlos managed in 2000, when a record 9.1 million Spaniards tuned in and helped the slot to achieve an 87.2 percent audience share on December 24th that year.

An explanation for the dip could be the decreasing reliance on television and increased use of mobiles, tablets and laptops to consume media in Spain. The Christmas message is also no longer a rare opportunity to see the head of state as it once was for many Spaniards when it first started airing in the 1970s.

Back then, missing the broadcast meant waiting until December 26th to read a transcription and see an image of the monarch, as there were no newspapers published on the 25th, with the exception of Catalonia.

The 21:00 time slot is also no longer as likely to guarantee a prime audience of Spaniards at home with the family, ready to watch television, as customs have changed with time, and many travel home on Christmas Eve.

There are no plans to change the time the king's message is aired in the immediate future however, according to newspaper ABC. Despite its drop in viewers, it was still the most-watched programme on Spanish TV on December 24th.

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