Weather Channel Sets Commercial Parameters

LOS ANGELES The Weather Channel said that beginning in the fourth quarter it would limit its commercial breaks to four 30-second spots, and suggested that advertisers plan to repeat ads only once an hour. This decision was based in part on the results of a monthlong study examining the level of viewers’ advertising recall.

Conducted by Glendale-Calif.-based media research firm ASI Entertainment, the study asked 1,350 adult viewers to watch three types of programming—news, general entertainment (such as a half-hour sitcom) and short weather updates. Viewers were then asked to provide details about the commercials that ran during each program.

The study found that, of the ads recalled successfully by both brand and concept, more than 50 percent of them aired during TWC test segments, rather than during competing format programming.

“We found [viewers] are tending to be more attentive, a little more involved when they tune in for brief periods of time, for very specific information,” said Dave Castler, CEO of ASI.

When people watch longer-format programming, “they’re more likely to use it just to have company,” added Paul Iaffaldano, svp of network sales and ad product development at TWC. “When they check the weather, it’s usually because something important is going to happen,” such as a wedding, golf game or business trip. “So they’re going to interact with more strength to both the content and ads.”

The five ads used in the study were selected because TWC felt they offered a fair representation of overall commercial programming. Sponsors of the 30-second spots were a home and garden retailer, an SUV maker, a packaged-goods company, a software product and a cell phone service.