Weather Execs Explain Why Every Marketer Needs A “Weather Strategy,”
Sam Champion Introduces Newest Member of “AMHQ with Sam Champion” Team
NEW YORK – March 4, 2014 –Continuing to be an industry innovator, The Weather Company combined its television and digital sales presentations into an industry-first “AllFront” at a breakfast held this morning at the Times Center in New York City. The company underscored the strength of its platforms by introducing new content and native ads on all screens, discussing the launch of its new flagship morning series, “AMHQ with Sam Champion,” and announcing that Weather is the only media company to leverage weather data across ALL screens to work with marketers to drive sales and isolate the specific impact of The Weather Company investment.
Chris Raleigh, senior vice president, cable and cross-platform ad sales for The Weather Company, and Jeremy Steinberg, senior vice president, digital ad sales for The Weather Company, kicked off the presentation. Raleigh noted that The Weather Channel network is riding high after its successful relaunch and introduction of The Weather Channel brand’s new mantra “It’s Amazing Out There” last November. Noted Raleigh, “Since the brand relaunch, the network’s total day is up 30 percent1 and prime time originals are up 64 percent year over year2. Here’s another amazing fact – one out of three people who use our platforms start or end their day with us3.”
Said Steinberg, “We have become not merely your media partner – we are a platform. You have a social strategy with Facebook and Twitter. You have a search strategy with Google. With us, now you’ll have a weather strategy. And you should.” Added Raleigh, “With a weather strategy, you can ‘anticipate and exploit’ rather than ‘cope and avoid.’”
Steinberg also noted that video streams across our mobile platforms are up 322 percent4, and The Weather Channel mobile has achieved 130 million app downloads.
Raleigh and Steinberg emphasized the importance of local on all screens, with reimagined “Local on the 8’s” on The Weather Channel network and localized content for more than 44,000 ZIP codes on digital.
Sam Champion, anchor and managing editor at The Weather Channel, introduced for the first time the latest talent to join Weather’s new morning show, “AMHQ (America’s Morning Headquarters) with Sam Champion.” Along with previously-announced co-hosts and on-camera meteorologists Maria LaRosa and Mike Bettes, Sam introduced news anchor Anaridis Rodriguez, who joins Weather from WWLP-TV in Springfield, MA, where she was anchor/reporter (full bio in addendum below).
“AMHQ with Sam Champion,” which will air weekdays from 7:00-10:00 a.m. ET, premieres Monday, March 17, on The Weather Channel network. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the show will launch with live reporting from New York and Chicago, two of the cities with the biggest outdoor celebrations of the holiday each year.
Mike Bettes, on-camera meteorologist and new co-host of “AMHQ with Sam Champion” and Jim Cantore, on-camera meteorologist and storm tracker for The Weather Channel, recapped the spate of recent winter storms. Bettes announced that, “In the coming months, The Weather Channel is going to roll out an approach to forecasting that will take accuracy and precision to a whole new level - proprietary technology that will be more local, more relevant and more personal than ever...It will have a significant impact on how we observe, track and predict where weather is going.”
Cantore, recently named 2014 Weatherperson of the Year, explained the dramatic and erratic weather that has shaped the past year and recent weeks, noting “These circumstances indicate that now, more than ever, we need to cover severe weather in more depth, and with more resources. And that is just what The Weather Channel is doing on every platform.”
David Clark, president of The Weather Channel network, and Neil Katz, weather.com editor-in-chief and vice president of content for The Weather Company, discussed Weather’s successful content strategy on TV and digital, and how every piece of content fits into the “Weather Spectrum,” spanning the stories between Mother Nature and Human Nature and everything in between through the prism of weather.
Clark announced four new series that will premiere in 2014 along with four series renewals, including:
(Premiere dates subject to change)
“Tornado Alley” – Premieres Monday, April 28, at 9:00 p.m. ET
8x 60-min. episodes
Each year, more than 2,000 tornadoes occur worldwide, with an average of more than 1,000 tornadoes hitting the United States. Ripping homes from their foundation in a split second, obliterating towns in the blink of an eye, these twisters are as unpredictable as they are dangerous. Over the course of this anthology, “Tornado Alley” will explore deadly tornadoes from every angle, through the eyes of both experts and survivors. Using cutting-edge CGI, the show will destroy cities, tell white-knuckle survival stories, and show in user-generated content just how devastating tornadoes can be. “Tornado Alley” is produced by Karga Seven Pictures (“Futurescape,” “Alien Encounters”).
“Caaching Hell” – Premieres Sunday, June 1, at 9:00 p.m. ET during the network’s “Natural Drama” programming block
10x 60-min. episodes
In the universe of high-stakes dangerous jobs, none is as extreme as the death-defying world of commercial spearfishing. Deep below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, chasing millions of dollars worth of grouper, snapper, even barracuda and the elusive hogfish, the series follows the world’s most skillful hunters as they battle intense weather and ocean conditions, dive to astonishing depths, fight off the bends and man-eating sharks, and strike seemingly impossible shots on these valuable fish. For these marksmen who follow their own code and risk their lives on every dive, this epic hunt - and the paycheck that goes with it - is the ultimate rush. “Catching Hell” is produced by Stick Figure Studios (“Amish in the City,” HBO's "Family Bonds”), a division of Ora TV (“Larry King Now,” “Wayward Nation”).
“Now What?” – Premieres Q3
8x 60-min. episodes
“Now What?” tackles weather-related emergencies and explores the choices people make when Mother Nature wreaks havoc on them. What should you do when your car is overtaken by flood waters? What do you do when you realize you’re in a tornado’s path? The series explores these sometimes life-and-death situations and offers survival solutions to even the worst-case scenarios. “Now What?” is executive produced by Phil Gurin (“Shark Tank”).
“Wicked in the Weather” – Premieres Q4
8x 60-min. episodes
“Wicked in the Weather” gives viewers a never-before-seen look into the Earth sciences as seen through the origins of Americana’s most frightening legends. Whether it’s a bad moon rising or a wicked wind blowing, this series peels back the layers of terrifying tales, examining their origins, the fascinating geographic and meteorological elements, and the modern day experiences told by the people who lived through them. “Wicked in the Weather” is produced by Sirens Media (“Who The (Bleep) Did I Marry?,” “When Ghosts Attack”).
(Premiere dates subject to change)
“Strangest Weather on Earth” – Season Two Premieres Q4
8x 60-minute episodes
With the perfect confluence of events, the weather on Earth can turn so outrageous it defies imagination...Spiders falling from the sky, cocooned trees, green clouds and a full circle rainbow - these events may appear to be supernatural, but “Strangest Weather on Earth” explains why they're simply Mother Nature at her most amazing. Witness extraordinary events stranger than anything Hollywood can dream up and discover just how these crazy conditions happen. “Strangest Weather on Earth” is produced by Pioneer Productions (“Weather That Changed the World,” “How Sex Works”).
“Why Planes Crash” – Season Two Premieres Q4
8x 60-minute episodes
Fog, haze, hail...these events may seem like harmless, everyday occurrences, but when it comes to planes, weather can be deadly. “Why Planes Crash”investigates the elements that contributed to some of the world's most shocking aviation incidents. Highlighted by witness and survivor interviews, expert perspectives, black box testimony, and animation built straight from the case files of the FAA, the series explores what happens when weather goes terribly wrong for those traveling by air. “Why Planes Crash” is produced by Peacock Productions (“Weather Caught on Camera,” “Storm Stories”).
“Prospectors” - Season Three Premieres Q4
10x 60-minute episodes
The original “Prospectors” gang heads to the mountains of Colorado seeking their fortune once again this season, along with some newcomers inspired to join by the others' success. At 14,000 feet above sea level there’s 50 percent less oxygen, and extreme weather - including close-call lightning strikes and hurricane force winds - is often these prospectors' worst enemy. But for those willing to battle the elements and confront the danger, there are riches just waiting to be unearthed - some of the planet’s most rare and precious gems. “Prospectors” is produced by High Noon Entertainment (“Hurricane Hunters,” “Cake Boss”).
“Coast Guard Alaska” – Season Four Premiere Date TBD
8x 60-minute episodes
Wild turbulence, freezing temperatures and dizzying heights are just some of the obstacles facing the Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska, and other AK bases. This team of highly trained swimmers and rescue pilots race the clock and battle fierce winds, dense forests, icy waters, huge waves and more to execute critical assignments such as perilous search and rescue missions or transporting severely ill or injured people from remote locations to the nearest hospital. The series also explores what life is like off-duty on the base, as the group enjoys the Alaskan wilderness and tight-knit local community in their free time. “Coast Guard Alaska,” the first in Weather’s successful “Coast Guard” franchise, is produced by Al Roker Entertainment (“Bordertown: Laredo”), with Al Roker and C. Russell Muth serving as co-executive producers.
Katz discussed the company’s simple content strategy for digital: “Mother Nature is our director of photography, our executive producer and our scriptwriter. Our job is to tell those stories and capture the human dramas that unfold to an audience who’s hungry for them.” He announced new content, including:
Last year, weather.com launched “Video Minutes,” a collection of video series comprised of one-minute videos that explore all of the amazing things in the world that fascinate us, spanning multiple categories such as nature, science, travel, and sports and recreation. New “Video Minutes” series launching later this year include:
Warp takes users on a journey to the future of Mother Earth, and investigates marvels in architecture, innovations in engineering, and space exploration.
Human Nature studies how science, the weather and our environment impacts our health, and uncovers incredible survival stories and health secrets.
Melt features inspiring stories that social media is buzzing about - stories sure to melt your heart.
Crazimals recounts bizarre news stories about animals that amuse and entertain.
In 2013, weather.com created the “Weather Films” umbrella of digital series; videos with a focus on adventure, travel and sports and recreation that took users across the world to places they had never seen. This year, Weather Films is shifting gears and taking users underground and undercover with a hard-hitting series of investigative documentaries that will rip the lid off of controversial topics, such as recent video features America Burning and Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil and Bad Air on the Texas Prairie. Next up are provocative topics such as homelessness in the coldest city in the country, smuggling and immigration across a perilous desert, and climate denial.
Additionally, Katz announced a first of its kind for Weather: Primetime programming that was produced in concert with Weather’s digital platform for an umbrella series called “Will to Live.”
“Will to Live” – Premieres Sunday, April 20, at 9:00 p.m. ET during the network’s “Natural Drama” programming block
5x 60-minute episodes
"Will to Live" is a cross-platform, co-produced TV series, with two out of these five hours of heart-pounding TV coming from Weather’s digital video team. “Will to Live” explores the most extreme and dramatic stories of survival, where ordinary people are confronted with nature at its toughest, proving that storms, fires, and even the power of the open sea are sometimes no match for the human spirit.
Kevin Doerr, senior vice president of digital products for The Weather Channel, offered the audience a sneak peek of Weather’s completely refreshed app launching soon, noting “Everything from the design language to the interaction layer to the addition of content and social experience is new. Also new is how we’ve integrated ways to highlight and promote your brands in the mobile experience.” Doerr told the audience that Weather’s native ads also offer seamless integration into content beyond mobile - it’s now available on display with weather.com and on television during The Weather Channel network’s “Local on the 8’s,” allowing brands to create a unified cross-screen experience for consumers.
Vikram Somaya, general manager, WeatherFX, for The Weather Company, discussed the WeatherFX platform’s ability to combine weather data with the company’s ability to localize and activate weather-triggered media across all platforms – and beyond – to engage and convert customers when they are most receptive to a message. Somaya said that WeatherFX can help marketers reach 173 million monthly consumers across Weather’s platforms, noting, “Imagine having a crystal ball that gives you the ability to get ahead of the weather, any weather, and influence purchase behaviors and drive bottom-line business results,” said Somaya. “Only The Weather Company can bring that to you.”
Curt Hecht, chief global revenue officer for The Weather Company, wrapped up the event with a few parting thoughts for the audience, including how Weather is the first company to have the ability to leverage weather to transact on sales for enterprise clients. “Based on the success of a few major marketers having a weather strategy in 2013, we are now in the position to work with marketers to transact on sales that have the enterprise scale and analytics capability to partner with us,” said Hecht. “We’re ready and we can execute at scale on all screens. If this sounds like a new idea, it’s because it is - and we’ll partner with you through the process to help you successfully leverage weather to move your business forward.”
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The Weather Company: Where the World Gets its Weather
Through The Weather Channel, weather.com, Weather Underground, Intellicast.com, and third-party publishing partners, the company provides millions of people every day with the world's best weather forecasts, content and data, connecting with them through television, online, mobile and tablet screens. Through WSI and Weather Central, the company delivers superior professional weather services for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. The Weather Company is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit www.weather.com/press.
1 Source: Nielsen, 11/12/13-2/16/14 vs. 9/30/13-11/10/13, L+SD
2 Source: Star Media/MultiTrak/Time Period Reporting/Long Form Post-Launch vs YAGO (11/9/13-1/13/14 vs 11/9/12-1/13/13)
3 Source: Q4 2013, Omniture for digital and Nielsen Media Research for TV, sum of hourly visitors/P2+ Reach within daypart breaks.
4 Source: Video streams across Weather’s mobile platforms comparing YR2012 to YR 2013. Platforms covered include TWC iPhone, Android Phone, Android Tablet, iPad & mobile Web.
Twitter Handles and Hashtags: @weatherchannel, #AllFront, #ItsAmazingOutThere, @craleigh1, @jeremysteinberg, @SamChampion, @twcMariaLaRosa, @MikeBettes, @Anaridis, @JimCantore, @daveclark, @neilkatz, @vikramsomaya, @curthecht
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Anaridis Rodriguez, news anchor, “AMHQ with Sam Champion”
Anaridis Rodriguez joins Weather from WWLP-TV in Springfield, MA where she was anchor/reporter. She was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States with her family at age 12. While in college, Anaridis was a co-host and a student panelist at the gubernatorial debate held at Emerson College before Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick won a second term. She was also awarded two AP Awards for her coverage of the “One Nation March” in Washington, DC. While living in Boston, she reported on the South End/Lower Roxbury area and contributed articles to the Globe’s website, “Your Town.” Her published articles ranged from stories about rehabilitating Roxbury gang members to preservation of the arts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and Spanish from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College.