Weather Channel pulls out of Europe

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LONDON -- The Weather Channel, a cable TV network that is available in 70 million U.S. homes and benefits from a strong brand image there, is pulling the plug this week on its European operations at the same time it's expanding in Latin America.

The Weather Channel, like a number of U.S. niche cable and satellite TV channels, has attempted to expand globally with the aim of offering advertisers global ad packages.

An Atlanta-based spokesman for The Weather Channel says that, although European consumers responded favorably to the 24-hour service, The Weather Channel was unable to get enough cable TV networks to carry its programming.

The Weather Channel entered Europe in 1995 and operated two ventures. From the U.K., it beamed local language feeds to the U.K., the Netherlands and Italy. It was also present in the German market via a joint venture with the German broadcaster Der Wetter Kanal. The service will cease in all four markets.

The Weather Channel's claimed distribution in Europe consisted of the U.K. (five million homes), The Netherlands (three million), Germany (14 million) and Italy (120,000).

Recent regional advertisers on The Weather Channel in Europe have included the Kellogg Co., Microsoft, Delta Airlines and Toyota.

The Weather Channel is a subsidiary of Landmark Communications of Norfolk, Virginia.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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