Bad storms can be good business for The Weather Channel.
As it gears up coverage of Hurricane Irene, its expecting spikes in TV viewership and web traffic. During storms, it tends to run fewer commercial breaks, according to a spokeswoman, even going commercial free during landfalls. But it sells "Severe Weather Packages" to advertisers who pay premium prices to reach big audiences at a time when their products and service will be top of mind.
Some advertisers buy packages that air before a storm hits, when consumers are getting prepared. Others are more interested in reaching viewers afterwards, when people are cleaning up and rebuilding. Some severe weather clients on Weather channel include insurance companies like State Farm, generator companies like Generac, clean-up services such as ServPro, home improvement retailers like Home Depot and OnStar.