At Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, Bob Walker - Weather Channel’s EVP and General Manager of Networks and Content - laid out some impressive stats.
Walker: “At a time when digital is growing dramatically for everybody in the news and information space - and we are…probably the leader in that space - we’re adding a 100,000 people a day that are downloading The Weather Channel app on a mobile device.”
Later Jim Cantore, Weather Channel meteorologist, said 40 million people have downloaded the app to date. Walker added that their research shows that “90% of the U.S. population checks the weather every day, and how they choose to get that information is what we really focus our entire business on. We view ourselves as a weather content company that is across any platform the consumer chooses.”
So far, 2011 has been a big severe weather year. During the Groundhog Day storm, according to Walker, “a third of the U.S. …was engulfed in the one of the most severe winter storm coverages of all time.” Tornado season was extraordinary, clocking five EF-5 tornadoes. (Normally, one EF-5 occurs every two years.)
46 million people tuned into the Weather Channel during the time around the Groundhog Day storm - on January 31 and February 1. And Walker stated that during the same two days Weather Channel “did a half a billion page views on digital and mobile devices….and we had nearly 50 million people watch us the week of the Joplin tragedy. In May it was the best performance for The Weather Channel network in five years.”
As 2011 moves into the autumn hurricane season, Weather Channel is planning for more severe weather. Per Walker: “NOAA says they expect between 12 and 18 storms. Our own WSI says 15. They expect eight of those to be hurricanes. They expect half of those to be major hurricanes…it’s almost unconscionable to imagine that we won’t have a landfall event this year.”