Snow makes Real Time Planning a reality.

It will be no surprise that the snow affected more than the journey to work. There was huge impact on media habits too.

Just as ice and snow have brought disruption to many parts of the UK, they have also disrupted traditional shopping and media habits.This one is a no brainer. Daytime viewing was up nearly 30% if you compare the first days of December with the week before. And this is just on a national basis. Clearly some regions were and will be hit more dramatically than others. The trend follows through on to Video on Demand. For example Channel Four’s 4oD saw a 20% boost on Wednesday 1st December versus the previous Wednesday. This could well have included some people trying the service out so that they could watch Misfits or Any Human Heart when they had time to kill, instead of defaulting to Deal or No Deal.

This may lead to a real step change in habits as people watch not just whatever is on the telly, but catch up with favourite shows online. What else were people up to last week? Of course they spent more time on Facebook too, and online generally. MSN’s homepage spiked an extra 6 million daily impressions.

Shopping in shopping centres and on the high street suffered in some areas as it was too cold or too difficult to get out for Christmas shopping. But the snow fell at the right on time for online sales for safe delivery pre-Xmas.

John Lewis – a bellwether for retailers – saw sales flatten in retail outlets year on year but zoom up online.Media strategies with Real Time Planning tactics built into them will be taking advantage nicely of the added impacts in daytime, and the opportunity to drive immediate sales online. Real Time Planning was one of my key predictions for 2010. ( Communication strategies that were fired up and ready to go for the ongoing snow situation will reap the rewards versus the competition.

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