You’d think the ubiquity of weather news would be enough to scare off any potential competitors.
But Evelyn Rothschild and Lynn Forester de Rothschild believe they have a way to take on market leader the Weather Channel and its website Weather.com. The wealthy husband-and-wife team today (Monday) plan to launch MyWeather as a website, as well as a free iPhone and Android app. An iPad app will launch shortly.
“The headline here is that weather just got personal,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild. “Advances in science and technology have allowed us to create a new category.”
MyWeather allows consumers to learn about weather in a much more targeted way, down to a specific address. Because weather may vary widely within a ZIP code, MyWeather will be able to tell you specifically what the weather will be on your block now or hours from now. Lynn Forester de Rothschild said the technology allows MyWeather to be six times more precise than competitors. MyWeather uses tech from Weather Central, a Wisconsin-based weather data service in which the de Rothschilds, through the family investment firm E.L. Rothschild Ltd., purchased a 70% stake in January. Weather Central data and maps are used by more than 50% of local TV stations.
The de Rothschilds are not content to just operate a website and apps. They are in discussions to provide their services to media outlets from the Huffington Post to CNN. Those partnerships would serve as second revenue source to advertising on the site. MyWeather also has patented technology that allows you to enter mutiple addresses to check the weather there, so, for example, you can find out what’s brewing at your vacation home, at your daughter’s dormitory, or at your grandmother’s house. And it allows those checkpoints to be be transmitted across your multiple devices without having to sign in everytime.
Competing in weather won’t be easy. The Weather Channel was bought by NBCUniversal and two private equity firms for $3.5 billion in 2008, and new owner Comcast has promised regulators it will be more vigilant on all forms of news.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild said they may offer the service through Internet-connected televisions.
E.L. Rothschild’s other media investments include a stake in The Economist Group, which publishes the iconic weekly business magazine. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a former successful telecom executive, serves on The Economist Group’s board, and was Hillary Clinton’s chief fundraiser during her Presidential bid. Evelyn de Rothschild comes from a family steeped in the banking business. He was knighted in 1989 by Queen Elizabeth, for whom he serves as a financial adviser.