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Advertisers Win In Winter Storm

Roanoke, VA - February 2016.

Ratings just released by Rentrak prove that strategically placed television advertisements can help businesses reach new audiences, especially during a severe weather event.

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, meteorologists were predicting 14 to 22 inches of snow with some areas possibly receiving 30 inches.

The prediction prompted the closing of schools and businesses, and had people scrambling to their televisions for the latest forecast, current road conditions, and other important community information.

To understand how the snowstorm affected ratings, B2C Enterprises collected data using Rentrak StationView Essentials® for Thursday, January 21, and Friday, January 22, and compared that data with numbers from the prior Thursday and Friday, January 14 and 15. Using the Adults 21+ demographic, they averaged station ratings for both sets of days then calculated the percent change for three categories: Daily (including primetime), News, and 6a-8p. The following tables illustrate the ratings.


WDBJ7 maintained its strong ratings across all dayparts and specifically in news programming. WDBJ7 News at Noon shows a 55% bump in ratings, up to 18.79 from 12.15 for the previous week. However, WSLS 10 showed the largest percent change in viewership for the entire two-day period, with a massive increase of 55%. The biggest ratings changes on WSLS were in WSLS News at Noon, which jumped from 2.01 to 5.31 (139%), and in Daytime Blue Ridge, which went from 2.01 to 5.31 (165%). Also worth noting is the increase in numbers for WSLS's 7pm News: an increase from 5.21 to 10.19, a gain of 96%.

Though not quite as high as WSLS, WSET also produced a strong ratings jump that beat out WDBJ7 in percent changes across all three categories. Specific programs that had large increases include ABC News 13 Midday, whose rating jumped from 3.37 to 6.50 (93%) and ABC News 13 at 5p, which went from 4.58 to 7.35 (60%). WSET's highest rated local newscast, ABC News at 6p only showed a 32% increase (7.33 to 9.71). While not highly rated as a station, WFXR's news programming did attract many more viewers than the previous week. WFXR News/Good Day Virginia rose from 1.24 to 2.16 (73%) and WFXR News First at 10p grabbing a 90% increase, from 4.0 to 7.59. WFXR's decrease in afternoon programming ratings hinted that viewers were looking for weather updates on other channels.

With Rentrak/comScore®, viewing and consumer behavior is precisely tracked and analyzed in real time. This gives agencies like B2C Enterprises the capability to evaluate changes in ratings on a day-by-day basis with only a short lag time. In turn, advertisers' media strategies can be adjusted based on actual viewing habits.

Though all the stations had significantly increased viewership on January 21-22 compared to January 14-15, the real winners were the advertisers. They saw their advertising budget go even farther and garnered the attention of consumers who may not have otherwise been glued to their televisions.

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