New York – April 3, 2013 – The Weather Channel (Weather) today hosted their formal Upfront presentation at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City, which included the announcement of five new series, three new web series, and an entire refresh of the network’s look and feel. On-camera meteorologists Jim Cantore and Maria LaRosa co-hosted the event, which was kicked off by The Human Weather Choir, who created a rainstorm using their voices and bodies.
The choir’s performance was a perfect metaphor for the commotion weather has made recently. In just the past year, the U.S. endured record heat; record droughts; severe flooding; widespread wildfires; Superstorm Sandy, one of the worst natural disasters to strike the country; and a string of severe winter storms, including Winter Storm Nemo.
“We are at a moment where weather is more unpredictable and awesome than ever,” said David Kenny, chairman and CEO, The Weather Company. “More people are talking about the weather more often, which extends the audience for our marketing partners.” Kenny added, “The Weather Channel is a trusted brand investing in innovation, and the perfect home for other trusted brands investing in innovation.”
The following news was announced during the presentation:
TARGETING THE WEATHER ENTHUSIAST
Kenny introduced the new trajectory of the company and explained Weather’s target audience, the Weather Enthusiast. “This is a passionate affinity group that’s 46 million strong,” said Kenny. “They come to us regularly and seek out our content to help plan their lives and get smarter about the weather, so it makes great sense for us to super serve them, while always being mindful to appeal to a broader audience, as weather affects everyone and shapes their interests, emotions and behaviors.”
A NEW DAY AT THE WEATHER CHANNEL
“We are capitalizing on a unique opportunity to redefine how weather is presented on TV,” said David Clark, president, The Weather Channel network. “Over the next year, we are completely changing the look of our network. We’re uniting all of our looks and graphics packages, so that when you’re on The Weather Channel, or even when you’re just walking by, you’ll know it’s us because of the distinct look and feel.”
The Weather Channel is the number one cable news and information network weekday mornings (44.6 million)*. Weather is building a new morning destination that builds on its strength as the first place on TV people turn to plan their day. The project is called “Weather.Set.Go.” Featuring The Weather Channel’s dynamic morning team, the project will leverage the network’s unique local content delivery capabilities and content partnerships to help Americans plan and prepare for a successful day given any weather condition. (*Source: Nielsen 1Q’13, P2+, MF 6a-11a, L+SD)
ONLY NATIONAL. LOCAL.COVERAGE.
Clark announced that The Weather Channel network will soon be able to present severe weather coverage in affected markets only, allowing viewers in unaffected markets to remain viewing regularly scheduled programming.
Additionally, Clark announced a complete refresh of the network’s “Local on the 8s,” localized forecasts that appear every 10 minutes at :08, :18, :28, etc. The new “LOT8s” will feature on-camera meteorologists with more locally relevant forecasts.
WEATHER THAT ENTERTAINS
Clark also announced a new slate of programming premiering 2013-14, centered around character-driven shows with a backdrop of weather and science. This includes new original series: “Secrets of the Earth,” “Weather that Changed the World,” “Storm Warriors,” “Strangest Weather on Earth,” and “Freaks of Nature.” These five new series are among 20 originals that are currently on air or set to premiere in 2013-14, including “Coast Guard Alaska,” “Coast Guard Florida,” “Deadliest Space Weather,” “Forecasting the End,” “Hacking the Planet,” “Hurricane Hunters,” “Iceberg Hunters,” “Lifeguard!,” “Loaded,” “Prospectors” and “Reef Wranglers,” as well as upcoming previously announced series “Reel Rivals” (May 7), “Lava Chasers” (October 2013), “Tipping Points” (October 2013) and “Breaking Ice” (Q4 2013).
NEW ORIGINAL SERIES:
“Secrets of the Earth” (Premieres May 23 at 8 p.m. ET)
"Secrets of the Earth" explores our planet with the same sense of awe and wonder normally reserved for alien worlds. Computer graphics, visual analogies and a recurring cast of expert scientists combine to reveal new aspects of the world you think you know, from canyons of gravity that warp space and time to rain triggered by cosmic rays. “Secrets of the Earth,” produced by Flight 33 Productions (“Deadliest Space Weather,” “Rocket City Rednecks”), will feature 9x 30-minute episodes.
“Weather That Changed The World” (Premieres June 6 at 9 p.m. ET)
Severe drought, torrential rain, extreme cold and unpredictable winds are among nature's most powerful forces. Those extreme conditions have also created dramatic turning points in history. Evidence from historic battles and lost civilizations shows how underestimating or incorrectly predicting the weather has often had unexpected consequences. How did an iceberg cause the Titanic to sink? When did bad weather save the U.S. Capitol? How and when did weather and natural forces wage war directly on entire populations - sometimes erasing them completely? "Weather That Changed The World," through past extreme weather footage, reconstructions and surprise insight from experts, reveals how the history of the world has been defined by weather and how weather-shaped events impact us today. "Weather That Changed the World," produced by Pioneer Productions (“Curiosity,” “Deadliest Tornadoes”), will feature 9x 30-minute episodes.
“Storm Warriors” (Premieres August 2013)
“Storm Warriors” combines the power of incredible machines and extreme conditions to show how people survive and work in the world’s worst weather environments – weather so bad, no sane person would dare to brave it unless they had to. From ice-breaking in the Arctic to saving a community from floods in Fargo, ND, to making desperate repairs to a pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico—it’s engineering on the edge of reason, in the most extreme weather. “Storm Warriors” is produced by WAGTV and will feature 6x 30-minute episodes.
“Strangest Weather on Earth” (Premieres September 2013)
Big hail, high winds, and extreme lightning shows are nothing compared to the real “Strangest Weather on Earth” – from raining frogs to volcano smoke rings, instant ice storms to huge sandstorms – this series presents fascinating explorations as to what causes each one. Each episode will feature several examples of weird, wacky and extreme weather such as airborne fish, saucer clouds, and a wave made of rock. “Strangest Weather on Earth,” also produced by Pioneer Productions, will feature 12x 30-minute episodes.
“Freaks of Nature” (Premieres September 2013)
“Freaks of Nature” introduces viewers to extraordinary people who possess the power to control, manipulate or conquer nature, performing feats that could harm or kill the average human. They may brave sub-zero temps in just a pair of shorts; pass electricity through their body and out their fingertips in a bolt of lightning; set themselves on fire, claiming to be fireproof; and fly like a human-bird at speeds more than 100 mph. “Freaks of Nature” is produced by Off The Fence and will feature 12x 30-minute episodes.
Clark also discussed weather.com’s investment in original content and video online and on mobile, introducing three new web series premiering online this summer – the first time the site will feature series specifically produced for the web. They include:
“Brink” (working title, launches June 3)
“Brink” follows eco-heroes fighting to save embattled species on the brink before it’s too late.
“The Bucket List” (WT, launches July 1)
“The Bucket List” takes viewers on a journey to the most stunning natural places on Earth.
“The Explorers” (WT, launches August 5)
“The Explorers” profiles the world's toughest pioneers who've battled the most extreme weather on Earth and lived to tell.
Each series will feature 6x 2-4 min. episodes, with all six episodes of a series launching on the same date. All three series are co-produced by Efran Films, headed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning former “60 Minutes” producer Shawn Efran.
WEATHERFX & CABLEFX
Curt Hecht, chief global revenue officer, The Weather Company, introduced CableFX, a new offering from the company’s WeatherFX Division. CableFX brings Weather’s big data to their powerful local DMA targeting system – driving custom ad triggering and messaging. Leveraging Weather’s breadth of TV, web, tablet and mobile, CableFX brings the collective weather data together with clients’ business data to drive effective marketing. “Weather affects everything, and CableFX allows marketers to go from a passive ‘cope and avoid’ position to a proactive ‘anticipate and exploit’ approach, driving deeper connection with customers and better ROI with timely, relevant messaging,” said Hecht.
THE WEATHER CHANNEL & TWITTER
Hecht and Joel Lunenfeld, vice president, global brand strategy, Twitter, announced that The Weather Channel and Twitter have formed a partnership to make it easy for marketers to extend TV and digital content opportunities on to Twitter to increase audience size and drive engagement. The Weather Channel is working with Twitter's Promoted Content team to enable video to play seamlessly in-Tweet using Twitter cards technology. By combining video with Promoted Tweets, marketers can drive reach and target by location, interest, device and more. Content programs may include local forecasts, customized or branded content, severe weather coverage, user-generated content and more.
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.
Twitter Handles and Hashtags
@weatherchannel, #WeatherUpfrontFX, #Upfront @JimCantore, @twcMariaLaRosa, @davidwkenny, @daveclark, @curthecht, @joell
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