Weather Channel is recommitting to the weather. The cable network will begin airing forecasts and other weather updates 24 hours a day, even during commercial breaks, starting Nov. 12.
The forecasts will appear as displays along the bottom of the screen during both long-form programming and ads.
“We are getting back to our roots as a company,” said David Clark, president, Weather Channel. “We wanted to get back to the core idea that this is a place where people get the weather.”
The tactic is an attempt to retain and engage viewers during ad breaks. Networks including Fox and ESPN have also tested ways to keep viewers engaged during commercial breaks, including “double-box ad” formats, where the content continues to air in one small box while the commercial runs in another box.
For Weather Channel, making the forecast a persistent element coincides with a larger revamp of the channel, which includes a focus on Sunday night prime-time programming, amplifying its morning shows and a new tagline: “It’s amazing out there.”
Mr. Clark said the network had been missing opportunities to capture passion around the weather. It deviated a bit from its core mission in 2010, when it ramped up its reality TV programming and reduced its coverage of the weather. While it will continue to air shows like “Coast Guard Alaska,” which follows Coast Guard members as they train and work, the network is adding science-driven, weather-centric, long-form documentaries on Sunday nights under the label “Natural Drama.”
Weather Channel is also refreshing its on-air graphics to better accommodate a range of data sought by viewers, including pollen count and dew point.
Society is increasingly focused on data, said Scot Safon, a former CNN and HLN exec who was named CMO at Weather Channel in September. “The brand is completely built around data and data presentation and visualization.”
Source: AdAge.com, 11/11/13