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Oct. 9, 2022, 6:11 p.m. EDT

Hurricane Ian delivered for Weather Channel its biggest audience in five years

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Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The Weather Channel reached its biggest audience in five years last week when Hurricane Ian made its destructive landfall in western Florida.

The average audience of 3.4 million people on Wednesday, Sept. 28, was more than any other day for the network since Hurricane Harvey deluged Texas with record amounts of rainfall in 2017, the market data company Nielsen said.

The network’s peak day came despite other cable news and broadcast networks also devoting resources to the storm, and a myriad of streaming options that gave people many different ways to follow Ian and its aftermath.

For example, the free streaming service Local Now, which is owned alongside the Weather Channel by the Los Angeles–based Allen Media Group, had a record-setting day for usage on that Wednesday, the company said. Through the service, people could watch local news coverage of Ian from Florida markets Tampa, Fort Myers and Orlando.

Allen would not give precise figures on how many people used the service.

Another new wrinkle from the Weather Channel app were screen views that allowed users to watch the storm’s progress through fixed cameras placed in Ian’s path, in Fort Myers Beach, Punta Gorda and Venice, Fla., for example.

The average consumer who used the app spent a staggering four hours there on the day the storm hit, the Weather Channel said.

Fox Weather, a streaming service that debuted a year ago, easily had its most used day ever that Wednesday, although Fox also wouldn’t provide specific details.

During three overnight hours after the storm hit, Fox News Channel /zigman2/quotes/209921865/composite FOX +0.68% /zigman2/quotes/207816609/composite FOXA +0.68% simulcast the coverage on the Fox Weather stream.

NBC /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +0.34% was the winner again during the second week of the new television season, averaging 6.1 million viewers in prime time, Nielsen said. CBS /zigman2/quotes/200340870/composite PARA +1.27% averaged 5.7 million, ABC /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.01% had 4 million, Fox had 2.2 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Ion Television had 900,000 and Telemundo had 820,000.

ESPN, a Walt Disney Co. property, was the most watched cable network, averaging 2.15 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel had 2.12 million, MSNBC had 1.15 million, HGTV had 796,00 and CNN had 756,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, averaging 8.4 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.1 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million.

For the week of Sept. 26–Oct. 2, the 20 most watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:

  1. NFL Football: Kansas City at Tampa Bay, NBC, 20.85 million.

  2. “NFL Pregame Show” (Sunday), NBC, 15.74 million.

  3. “Football Night in America,” NBC, 11.04 million.

  4. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.27 million.

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