Fox Weather wants to blow through your devices.
The Fox Corp. climate-news service, which got its start as a streaming app when it launched in October of last year, is not so quietly winding its way into as many platforms as it can. On Thursday, Fox Corp. and smart-TV manufacturer Vizio unveiled an expanded distribution agreement that puts Fox Weather on Vizio WatchFree+ alongside existing Fox ad-supported channels. Since its debut the app has been downloaded more than two million times.
“We grew the Fox Weather ecosystem,” says Sharri Berg, who leads Fox Weather as well as news and operations for the parent company’s TV stations. “We started as a mobile app with a light linear network on it.” Over the course of the past several months, Fox Weather has launched on venues such as Roku and Amazon; on local Fox station digi-nets: and even on the weekend schedule of the Fox Business Network.
Additionally, Will Surratt, a veteran news producer who has worked with Erin Burnett and Donny Deutsch, among other personalities, is joining Fox Weather as its vice president of weather programming and content. He has already worked on several longform specials for the service.
The idea, says Berg, is to view the weather-news outlet as a utility that can work as a lean-back experience on a living-room TV and as a help during an emergency on a smartphone. “We really built this for the consumer and just because a network is AVOD and free shouldn’t mean it has to be a sub-par experience for an audience that is accustomed to watching things wherever it wants to.”
Fox Weather is part of a growing assortment of broadband products launched by Fox News Media under CEO Suzanne Scott. Fox Nation serves as a sort of “Netflix for conservatives,” offering everything from true crime stories from Nancy Grace to a coming comedy special from Roseanne Barr. A streaming service launched in 2020 makes Fox News programming available to overseas subscribers.
Berg says Fox Weather isn’t just about providing short bursts of news about the temperature and climate. The outlet has also been developing longer-form material, including documentary-style specials such as an October project that had meteorologist Amy Freeze, who once covered Hurricane Sandy in the New York metropolitan area, look ten years later at the effects of the storm on the region.
The company has produced several similar efforts in recent months that send Fox Weather personnel back to regions with which they are familiar to examine how major weather events affected those places. The projects try to strike a “human connection,” says Berg, and have proven popular on weekends.
Fox Weather will continue to try to seek new distribution, the executive says, and work on programing that appeals to its users in the hopes of getting them to spend more time with the service. After all, says Berg, “weather is about who it affects.”