Weather Channel Making Split-Run Spots Available

Apr 26, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Just as the weather’s not the same in different parts of the country, commercials on The Weather Channel can be different in different parts of the country.
At its upfront presentation for media buyers last week in Manhattan, the Atlanta-based cable channel unveiled the availability of split-run spots as well as new research indicating that viewers who watch The Weather Channel watch the ads, remember them and buy the products they see.
Viewers of The Weather Channel are “passionate and action-oriented” and seek out weather information to plan their activities, said Paul Iaffaldano, senior VP of network sales and advertising product development. “They are the people buying your client’s products.”
There’s also something about the nature of Weather Channel programming that makes those viewers stay tuned, pay attention and recall the commercials they see, he said.
Viewer Recall
Mr. Iaffaldano pointed to the results of a study conducted by ASI Entertainment between March 8 and April 8 in which telephone interviews were conducted with 1,250 adults ages 18 to 64.
The study found that ads on The Weather Channel were viewed and remembered more than 50 percent more often than were commercials on other news networks.
Recall jumped even more for what The Weather Channel calls enhanced ad products. Ads with local tags are 38 percent higher than the channel’s regular 30-second spots. Advertisers with special sponsorship arrangement have 70 percent higher recall, and spots that are triggered by weather conditions enjoy 125 percent higher recall.
Mr. Iaffaldano said the split-run ads are unique in cable in their ability to reach viewers in different geographic areas, different time zones and different weather conditions. During the presentation, he gave an example of a car company being able to pitch SUVs in Denver, a luxury model in New York and a hybrid in California.
Mr. Iaffaldano said that advertisers should be willing to pay a premium for the copy-splitting service. If an advertiser saw it as the kind of value-added that usually comes free, he noted that the channel sells out its inventory and would be inclined not to sell cheaper.
Another advantage for advertisers, Mr. Iaffaldano pointed out, was that The Weather Channel puts just four commercials in each commercial pod. That led to TWC rating tops among consumers as “less cluttered with commercials” in the 2004 Beta Brand Identity Study.
The Weather Channel is owned by privately held Landmark Communications. It doesn’t release ad revenue figures but said its ad revenues were up 37 percent in the first quarter of 2004 from the first quarter of 2003.
Weather Channel President Patrick Scott told media buyers that The Weather Channel’s ratings are up, with its best first quarter in its history. It’s morning shows “First Outlook” and “Your Weather Today” were up 24 percent and 39 percent, respectively. “Storm Stories” is leading the network’s prime-time programming to a double-digit increase from a year ago.
Making an appearance at the upfront was Bill Burke, who is leaving as president and CEO of the Weather Channel Co. in June to move his family back to Maine.
Mr. Burke said he is talking to the channel about remaining a programming consultant. He also said he has opportunities to be a director for a number of companies.