TV Upfront

The Weather Company's NewFront Pitch: Series That Span TV, Web and Mobile

'Brink' to Focus on Crusaders for Endangered Species

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The Weather Company has been touting its data-driven targeting capabilities to the ad world for some time now, but the emphasis was on its programming during its presentation to digital ad buyers on Monday.

Chief Revenue Officer Curt Hecht at the NewFront pitch
Chief Revenue Officer Curt Hecht at the NewFront pitch

Starting in July, the company plans to introduce short-form shows available for viewing on The Weather Channel, on its website and on mobile devices, including "Virus Hunters," a dramatic look at super viruses that could affect large groups of people, and "Alive," which will chronicle the harrowing tales of people who survive treacherous weather events.

It also plans web series "Brink," which focuses on crusaders who have helped save endangered species, and "Grid Breakers," which tracks intrepid explorers in extreme weather conditions.

The Weather Company described its plans at a presentation that was part of the NewFronts, where digital publishers are trying to win more of marketers' TV budgets by pitching in the style of TV's annual upfronts. Its programs on TV and online may set it up to better compete with TV and video from the likes of the Discovery Channel, home to fare like "Stormchasers" and "Shark Week," or the National Geographic Channel.

But it also is working to foster its particular community of weather enthusiasts, who executives described as tech-savvy consumers who check the weather first thing in the morning and just before turning in to bed. The company's Weather Underground community has installed 30,000 personal weather stations, and this summer The Weather Company hopes they'll contribute more content in the form of photos through its iWitness platform.

"We want to super-serve the weather enthusiast," Weather Company Global Chief Revenue Officer Curt Hecht said today.

The company also remains focused on its refined geo-targeting capabilities, which can incorporate proprietary weather data, historical sales data and geographic and seasonal information.

Home Depot is the firm's first partner in its Twitter ad program, the company said. It will highlight Home Depot's "Project of the Week" campaign messages in promoted tweets, adjusting in-tweet video content according to location and weather conditions.

Mr. Hecht promoted a #WeatherNewFrontFX hashtag during the presentation, but the network's "Tornado Week" stunt -- promising to increase the intensity of fans pointed at interns every time someone used the #TornadoWeek tag on Twitter -- blew that out of the water in social media.

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