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Winter Storm Boosts TV Viewing

Here’s news that will warm the hearts of TV executives during a long winter: the icy storms that hit much of the country earlier this month brought more people inside and in front of their TV sets.

In fact, according to Nielsen, the Jan. 10-13 storm was the most impactful storm in recent history, helping to boost television viewing by 8% compared to the prior year. The increase was about a third larger than the gains that resulted from the last four major storms.

The biggest growth came from kids and teens who couldn’t go to school because of snow days. Viewing by children  ages 2 to 11 was up 18% and viewing by teens was up 15%, Nielsen says.

The southeast had the biggest gains in viewing, where TV audiences jumped 16% overall and 34% for kids and 18% for teens. Nielsen chalks this up to  the fact that kids there don’t have winter clothes or toys that are good to play with in the snow.

In the Northeast, viewing by kids was up 20%; viewing by teens was up 14%; viewing by adults in the 18 to 49 demo was up 3% and viewers age 50 and up watched 6% more TV.

Viewing did not spike in the Pacific region. In fact, viewing by kids was down 2%.

So it will take a chillier wind to blow no good for the TV business.