Although devastation caused by the "superstorm" Sandy put data and technology to the test Monday and Tuesday, The Weather Channel took the opportunity to move the traditional broadcast model online. Not with video clips, but around-the-clock live-streaming, YouTube coverage of storm-related events.
While The Weather Channel media managers touted the network's ability to keep people informed and prepared, the move to stream live video on mobile devices at a time when power outages threatened to shut down the East Coast will do more in the long run than attract new viewers.
In fact, the move will likely prompt a new vision for news organizations looking to connect with viewers, while providing them the ability to share content. It also will give brands the means to tap into a variety of ad formats and collect data on the back end. Google recently added analytics in YouTube for Channels.
On Monday, The Weather Channel logged about 125 million mobile page views. Mobile apps alone had 110 million page views and tablet apps had 14.9 million. In the future, the network can use that data to target ads.
There were more than 9.6 million total live video streams during the course of the storm on weather.com and YouTube, with a peak of 167,000 concurrent users. These levels suggest digital viewership levels that are equivalent to October 2012 viewing on The Weather Channel.
Across digital platforms, The Weather Channel experienced the best day across platforms with 450 million page views in one day, nearly doubling the previous record of 249 million from Feb 1, 2011.
Compare these stats with traditional broadcast data. The Weather Channel had the highest reach of any cable network on Sunday, according to the network, with more than 39 million people tuning for breaking coverage on Sandy. The network delivered an average audience of more than 1.4 million viewers on Sunday, making it the No. 1 non-children cable network for the day.