Back when I was a kid (are you groaning yet?), we didn’t have polar vortexes or named storms. No, it just got cold with arctic blasts and the occasional blizzard.
The Weather Channel had a nice justification for naming its winter storms, specifically safety through awareness. But let’s be honest about this, the channel is making its content more attractive to the marketplace through personification and mystery.
It’s the marketing of winter.
Can you blame The Weather Channel? In an era of niche media, there are few things that commands attention across wide swathes of the population. Major weather events happen to be one of those things, the Super Bowl being another.
Believe me when I say this: The Weather Channel has to do everything it can to drive ratings. A victim of its own successful Internet applications, the Weather Channel lost 20% of its viewing audience when DirecTV dropped it earlier this month. This follows a 19 percent drop in its ratings since 2011 as a result of its hyper successful Internet apps.
It makes sense. Some people may prefer spending 30 seconds on the Weather Channel app as opposed to watching ten minutes of programming to get the same information.
Competitive weather networks won’t help. In addition to WeatherNation, Accuweather is launching a 24-7 network this fall as is Network Weather. It seems like there will be more fish fighting for this smaller pond.
But if The Weather Channel sees people checking the weather via their apps instead of tuning in via cable, wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in interactive content instead of fighting for less cable viewers?
That’s why the marketing of winter makes sense to me. There is one thing we can be certain of; sooner or later the weather will turn foul. The added panache provides a compelling story that translates across medium.
Vortexes and named storms offer The Weather Channel a differentiator, and allows them to sell advertisements and sponsoships of major weather events on their networks. The mobile ad check-ins alone are probably worth it. “Sponsor coverage of five named storms this winter. You can make sure your mobile ads for snow shovels show when someone is within five miles of a store.”
What do you think of the The Weather Channel’s marketing of winter?