David Kenny from the Weather Channel (CEO) and Curt Hecht (head of sales).
David spoke about the direction where the company is going. TWC is in a unique category. The business is based on big data to begin with (weather prediction). Early on there was an understanding that weather data could be commoditized. The notion that you need to create competitive advantage to your data. So the company invested heavily in gathering data and its derivatives (e.g. the acquisition of weather underground).
The expectation from mobile users for TWC is for instant and hyper local weather information. As climate changes the traditional weather forecasting does not work well. Last summer 61% of the country was in drought conditions and 9.2MM acres charred in 2012 ; 3rd highest in 13 years. This is important to TWCs audience and to advertisers as well. Many consumer purchased are based on weather related patterns.
The more data fits in to the revenue side of the business the more it plays into the storytelling part of the business as well. Data is not just about the audience but about the weather story itself. TWC has begun naming storms (e.g. #Nemo) the way they name hurricanes. They did it because social media saves lives: people tweet about named entities. There were 800M tweets and photos around #nemo in a 5 day period.
TWC is now in the business of selling data. Fortunes have shifted in the digital space and TWC believes big data will determine who wins in this era.
WeatherFX is TWC's weather-intelligent marketing platform. Weather data is conditioned on a local market place. There questions TWC helps answer for marketers are consumer insight related:
How tdo you feel? Who do you contact? Where do you eat? What do you wear? How do you commute? What do you do? what do you buy? Weather impacts $5 Trillion or approximately 1/3 of the US economy (Penn state U, 2002)
Weather affects people look at "perfect weather for" on Twitter. It is the social element around weather that TWC has fostered with both twitter and facebook.
An interesting observation is how weather impacts people differently. 27 degrees in Miami and Chicago affects people in those cities differently.
The WeatherFX Suite: audience profiling (audience FX), WeatherFX Extender which puts TWC data in a larger marketplace. LocalFX is weather distributed through local media partners. TWC opens up inventory to self-serve and make it available to other local media companies.