The executives at the company that owns cable’s venerable Weather Channel know they have a popular service. The network has been around since 1982. Now they hope lightning will strike twice.
A live-stream of the outlet will be made available via app for connected TV sets, and subscribers who already get the cable version can get it by providing details of their provider. Others who want to access it can do so for a fee of $2.99 per month. It is the first time the network has offered its own direct-to-consumer subscription.
It does so with new winds blowing in the business of giving people news about the weather. Fox Corp. launched its own direct-to-consumer weather service, Fox Weather, for the digital crowd in the fall of last year. The ad-supported service is free, but has also surfaced at times on some of the company’s cable properties, such as Fox Business Network. AccuWeather, the forecasting service, last year launched its AccuWeather Now live-streamed service.
“This is a huge step for The Weather Channel television network, as we expand access to our best-in-class weather news and entertainment content,” said Byron Allen, founder and CEO of The Weather Channel parent company, Allen Media Group. “Our upgraded app allows subscribers to tailor their TV viewing experience to their location and needs. As many regions in the country prepare for the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, it was very important to launch this new app experience to ensure that our life-saving weather information is available to everyone, 24/7.”
Weather information has long been seen as something of a utility offering. At some point, most people want to know what the weather will be like outdoors. In recent years, however, information about the weather and the environment has become more existential in nature. Extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes and heat spikes are becoming more common, due to the planet’s changing climate, and the phenomenon could give rise to all kinds of other conditions that consumers will be eager to understand. The earth’s changing climate is likely to have more bearing on individuals’ health, and will probably spur new decisions by major corporations. It could even prompt debates about national security as permafrost and ice melt in polar regions. Weather Channel last year unveiled a new content initiative that will have offer more programming focused on explaining severe weather dynamics.
The new Weather Channel app will also offer access to an on-demand library of original programming and interactive features, which include local forecasts, 24/7 weather alerts, real-time maps and radars. For a limited time, the network is offering a seven-day free trial for new app subscribers.
Weather Channel’s connected TV app is currently available on Amazon Fire TV and Android TV and will be coming soon to Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Vizio, and Xfinity Flex.