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Advertising on The Weather Channel and Other Weather Stations Is a Win

February 28th, 2019   ||    by Oriana Schwindt

Advertising on The Weather Channel is an easy win these days. The Weather Channel, after all, has massive reach, especially when large storms strike. During Hurricane Florence, the storm that devastated the Carolinas in September 2018, The Weather Channel had an average audience of 315,000 adults 25-54, Adweek reported. In primetime, that average audience was 1.1 million. Overall, 2017 was The Weather Channel’s most-watched year since 2013, according to Adweek.

These numbers make false the notion that in the age of smartphones, with hundreds of weather-related apps available, televised local weather doesn’t have the sway it used to.

Why Do People Still Watch Weather on TV?

While weather apps can provide good information—sometimes delivered in a creative, humorous way, as in the case with the “What the Forecast?!!” app—televised weather news is more of a draw because it offers a human connection.

That human connection comes in the form of meteorologists, anchors, and reporters who can put storms and other adverse weather events into context. A weather app tells you that there’s a severe weather alert; your local weather station tells you whether that means you should shelter in place or evacuate.

Just as essential for marketers to bear in mind is that just about all of these viewers are live—no advertiser has to worry about their ad being skipped because this audience is not saving this programming for later.

Even regular cable news channels have picked up on the hunger for weather-related programming. When a winter storm was forecast to affect a wide swath of the Midwest and Northeast in mid-January 2019, MSNBC’s Morning Joe devoted time to Winter Storm Harper.

Don’t Discount Local Weather Stations

But advertising on The Weather Channel or another cable network like CNN or MSNBC isn’t the only way to get the attention of weather followers. There are plenty of opportunities in the local space to capitalize on people’s obsession with the weather.

The frequency of strong and out-of-season storms is increasing across the US, and more people tune in for each “Snowmageddon” or tornado outbreak. Local news is a good bet for buyers in these cases, though the current trend in news of the local bleeding into the national also means there’s a bigger chance of a local weather story ending up with a national spotlight.

While there is no denying the power of a weather event like a storm to drive viewership, simple daily or hourly forecasts are nothing to sneeze at, either.

Consider Spectrum’s NY1, an always-on local news channel in New York City that features “Weather on the 1’s”—meaning viewers are never more than nine minutes away from a weather report. This is one of the more popular features of the channel, and one that is easy for media buyers to plan around. The subways in New York feature ad after ad for various local stations purporting to have the most accurate weather coverage; billboards in other markets offer the same messages from dueling stations.

The real message is that weather on TV matters, and that those stations will be there for viewers when they’re most needed. It’s a message any marketer should want to be part of.

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