Hurricane Irma as seen on Sept. 4 (Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

With Irma, The Weather Channel Tops TV News Competition

People bypassed traditional news networks to go right to the source, according to Inscape.tv

As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida over the weekend, American viewers trusted The Weather Channel for up-to-the-minute information and storm tracking. According to Inscape.tv, an analytics company with live viewing data from 7 million smart TV screens and devices, when it came to viewership across the country, The Weather Channel outpaced cable news networks CNN and Fox News.

As you can see from the chart above, The Weather Channel became the dominant source of information as the storm worsened, even as the total universe of TVs and devices tuned to Fox News and CNN also rose.

The Weather Channel also captured even more eyeballs—at times by a factor of three—when it came to people specifically in the Miami metro area:

The ultimate fall in viewership over the weekend—across The Weather Channel, CNN and Fox News—related to the overall decline in sets and devices in use in the Miami metro area, thanks to widespread power outages (see “2.2 million South Florida homes and businesses have lost power” in The Miami Herald).

We wondered what that increase in viewership meant for brands advertising on The Weather Channel. So we worked with iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from 10 million smart TV screens, to find out which brands had the most visibility (based on total TV ad impressions), which were keeping people’s attention and which were spending big over the weekend.

Although Liberty Mutual led the way in overall impressions, the individual commercial with the most impressions came from Comcast Business.

Comcast also held viewer attention. With an iSpot Attention Index of 137, its ads had 37% fewer interruptions than the average commercial on The Weather Channel (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV). Spots from ZipRecruiter and Dyson also held people’s attention more than average over the weekend.

The spend ranking has a variety of brands, with the No. 1 spender being Bell+Howell, which advertised LED light bars, lanterns and flashlights (certainly useful products during a hurricane).