Monday, January 31, 2011

Consider the weather!

"TV viewership increases when families are cooped up in their homes during storms," reported the Huffington Post's David Bauder in a recent article. "Nowhere was this more evident than during the January 10-13 storm that dumped snow across a wide swath of the country, including areas of the south that seldom see it."

In fact, according to the article, Nielsen Co. reported "that storm had a bigger effect on television ratings than any other in recent history." So much so that TV viewership exceeded that of last year
at the time by 8 percent. Furthermore, TV networks that adjusted their programming to accommodate the change in viewership saw ratings increase by as much as 60 percent.

These facts have important implications for those of us in the PR industry:
  1. This situation really drives home the point of the importance of knowing your audience. Case in point: with more school-age children home during the day, Nickelodeon "cut short its preschool programming block by two hours, replacing it with programming geared toward older children," the article reported. The network realized ratings 43 percent over last year as a result.
  2. The situation also reminds us of the importance of considering external factors when writing and sending pitches. Considering something as simple as the weather and the impact of weather on viewership can give a PR pro's pitch an edge in terms of timing and content. It can also help the PR practitioner get more mileage out of a good placement.

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