Weather Touts New Research With A Purpose: A Greater Share Of Market

At a time when consumer involvement with media is becoming the factor de jour in media planning and buying, The Weather Channel has unveiled new research showing its viewers watch the channel with an unusual sense of purpose.

Three quarters (75%) of people who watch the channel were deemed "purposeful" viewers, which is more than twice the rate (32%) of television overall, according to data released during last week's ARF Week of Workshops in New York.

The channel's sister site weather.com also draws a higher than average purposeful rating: 84% versus 74% for general Internet use.

The findings are important because it supports The Weather Channel's positioning to Madison Avenue that it is the go-to source for information about weather in the morning and throughout the day via updates available on the web.

"We felt the clients deserved more than just our best guess," explained Meade Camp, senior vice president of client solutions of the channel, which commissioned Knowledge Networks/SRI to research the purposefulness of its viewers. Knowledge Networks/SRI's so-called "purposeful rating" are the kind of metrics planners and buyers are using to weight their media planners in favor of media that deliver consumers who are highly involved with the media they consume and, by association, with the advertising that goes with it.

While Nielsen Media Research data is the basis of TV advertising deals and guarantees the Knowledge Networks/SRI study also estimated that 96 million people use The Weather Channel or its website, weather.com, every week, with 89% of usage unduplicated.

"We believe and have always felt that there's a unique relationship between viewers and users of The Weather Channel and weather.com," Camp said. "We think weather information is a unique entity. Nobody checks the weather just to check the weather. They want to live life better and they want to make decisions for their lives."

The study also breaks down Weather Channel consumers into five segments:

  1. Mid-level professionals, about 34% of users, who tend to be between 35 and 49, and have income of $75,000 a year or more.

  2. Seventeen percent of its user base, which skew 18 to 34, enjoy gardening and outdoor sports, and have children in the household.

  3. Active executives, about 15% of its users, which tend to be between 35 and 49, travel for business, spend 60% more time than the usual with The Weather Channel and four times more than the normal on weather.com.

  4. Health-conscious consumers, about 27% of the user base, which tend to be slightly older and female, enjoy gardening, use prescription medication and allergy medication and earn a mid-range income.

  5. Seven percent of the user base is what The Weather Channel calls Outdoor Onliners, between 18 and 24, who spend 76% more time with weather.com, are interested in outdoor sports and have less income than the other segments.

Camp said that while the information wasn't available during this spring's upfront, he wishes it were. He said they're taking the study, and presentation, to advertisers.

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