Just as it was when it launched 34 years ago, The Weather Channel is once again an independent TV network.
Today, IBM closed its deal to acquire The Weather Company’s product and technology businesses, leaving the Weather Channel Television Network as a separate entity. The TV network will now license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.
“We have heightened focus on innovation, first-class storm coverage and hyper-localized weather information available through our various TV platforms,” writes Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel Television Network, in a memo to staff. Assets now include the main TV network, another network of weather-related products called WeatherScan, and the recently-launched over-the-top service Local Now, currently available on Sling TV.
With Local Now, Shull says, viewers will have access to real-time, hyper-local weather, traffic, news, and even sports content.
But it’s really about the weather. “Viewers want the context and expertise from our meteorologists, and our ratings success during Winter Storm Jonas is a testament of our value as a unique and necessary avenue of programming in the subscription television business,” Shull said.
Launched in 1982 by Landmark Communications, the Weather Channel was acquired in 2008 by a consortium that included NBCUniversal. Partnerships and synergies with NBC News, and the shut-down of NBC’s nascent Weather+, soon followed. Al Roker began hosting a show on the Weather Channel, and Weather Channel meteorologists began appearing more often on NBC programs.
But that’s history, and Shull is looking ahead: “I look forward to our continued success as an independent television network,” he concludes.