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As Florence Approaches, Political Advertising Increases On The Weather Channel

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Americans in the path of Hurricane Florence who tune into The Weather Channel will likely be inundated with a plethora of information about the storm, giving viewers advice on how to stay safe amid the destruction it will inevitably bring.

They’ll also be bombarded with political advertising, urging them to vote for or against certain candidates for office.

Major storms like Florence tend to increase viewership on the informative weather-based network across the nation, not just in the areas where the storm is hitting. The network saw huge increases between 2016 and 2017, for instance, when more hurricanes than usual were hitting the U.S.

Politicians and political action committees (PACs) have taken notice of this trend, and have increased their spending on ads on The Weather Channel by more than 40 percent over the past week.

Fifty-nine separate political advertisers had placed ads on the network last week. This week, as Florence makes landfall, at least 83 political advertisers have paid out to the channel.

The payments transcend parties, with both Democrats and Republicans buying ads. Candidate-specific ads are airing in several states, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Ohio, hundreds of miles away from where the storm presently sits.

Though media buys for the network are up across the country, candidates in the storm’s path are also buying ads. Republican candidate for Congress Mark Harris, a Baptist minister in North Carolina, bought 56 ads on The Weather Channel, which began airing on Thursday, a purchase that cost just over $1,000 to make. The ads will air over the next week.

PACs are also airing ads on The Weather Channel. The Senate Leadership Fund, a GOP-aligned PAC with ties to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has purchased ads in several states with tight races, including Tennessee, Misouri, North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana, and Nevada.

Featured image credit: NASA/Flickr


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