Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Weather Channel Isn't A Channel Anymore

2012 is shaping up to be the year of The Weather Channel (TWC) buying everything in the weather business...or it seems that way.

One thing the parent company of the channel is getting rid of is the "channel" in its name.

No, TWC is not selling the television station, although the amount of live weather it airs may vary from day to day, weather event to weather event.  TWC is simply renaming itself as "The Weather Company" in a branding effort.

“The word ‘channel’ is too limiting. The Weather Company better defines who we are,” said David Kenny in the New York Times. Kenny was named the chairman and chief executive of the company in January.

TWC is owned by NBCUniversal, which is in turn owned by Comcast.

Kenny proposed the name change in September while presenting a three year strategic plan to the company's board of directors.  Kenny cited Apple as his case example, pointing to their removal of "computer" from their company name in 2007 as a way to broaden their approach outside of merely Macintosh computers and towards phones, tablets, and consumer electronics.

TWC has been in the news a lot this year for varied reasons.  First, acquiring Wunderground and Weather Central, two of its competitors in the weather business; second, for its announcement last week that 75 of its employees were laid off in corporate restructuring.  Oh, and there's that thing about naming stuff that we don't need to rehash for the tenth time either.

Will there be much, if any change, in the restructuring?   From the New York Times article:

Driving the acquisitions and the name change is a sense that the company’s unit of measurement is not a minute or an hour of TV programming. Instead, it’s a local forecast — one that can be shared on television, distributed to apps and sold to businesses. The company wants to offer a 30-day local forecast in the future. At an all-staff meeting last Wednesday, Mr. Kenny emphasized science and innovation, saying the Weather Company’s focus was on “connecting people with the world’s best weather forecasts.”

Also in the works, less weathertainment where weather was a mere sideshow and more weathertainment where weather was the primary feature.  Seems like Storm Stories, or something similar, may be coming back?

Editor add-on:  One other casualty of the renaming of The Weather Channel into The Weather Company is James Spann's "The Weather Company" (as a name).  It apparently will be renamed after a "financial consideration" was attached to it.