Winter Storm Brings Warm Ratings for Weather Channel

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The major snow and ice storm that hit the
country last week may have been bad news for weary travelers
but it was a ratings bonanza for The Weather Channel.

The network’s coverage of the two-day storm that hit
Feb. 1, leaving huge snowfall totals and icy, cold conditions
affecting states from New Mexico to Maine, helped the network
generate the highest daily cumulative viewership for a
winter storm since 2006, according to The Weather Channel
Cos. executive vice president Bob Walker.

On Feb. 1, at the height of the storm, Weather drew 33 million
cumulative viewers — people tuning in for at least one
to six minutes — more than any basic-cable network for the
day, Walker said. The network also topped all basic numbers
in key demos, including adults 18-49 and 25-54.

Through last Wednesday (Feb. 2), Weather was averaging
812,000 viewers in primetime, up
120% compared with the same
week in 2010, and 685,000 viewers
on a 24-hour basis, an 84%
increase over the same period in
2010, according to Nielsen.

For the month of January, the
network averaged 313,000 primetime
viewers.

On the digital side, the network’s weather.com drew a record
126.7 million page views on Jan. 31, attracting more
than 18.2 million unique visitors. The network’s mobile service
also drew a record 15.1 million page viewers on that day,
while the network’s iPhone app garnered a record 35.2 million
page views, Weather officials said.

Walker said the continued growth of Weather’s digital
properties is not cannibalizing the audience tuning
into the linear cable channel.

“The fact that this was our largest audience
for a winter storm since 2006, the
largest audience on weather.com ever,
and over 100 million page views on mobile
devices, suggests to us that the consumer
stays in touch with us during these
kinds of events no matter what device they
find themselves associated with,” he said.

The network utilized 11 field crews, more than it has ever
deployed in the past, and supplemented that with coverage
from NBC Universal sister outlet NBC News.

Weather hopes viewers continue to tune in and log in as
the country continues to fight through a very active winter
season. Walker said the network is already gearing up for a
potentially nasty storm system that could hit a number of
states this Wednesday into Thursday.

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