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Local Weather Coverage Gets More Granular

Geotargeting and push notification features are among the many incremental steps forward that broadcasters are embracing to make their weather products as relevant as possible in a world where weather information is increasingly consumed on mobile devices — and not necessarily via TV apps.

When KSL chief meterologist Kevin Eubank pushes out weather notifications, he’s not thinking in terms of a single audience. He’s thinking about geo-targeting bikers and hikers in the mountains, urban commuters getting ready for work and other users in specific microclimates within his large Salt Lake City market (DMA 34).

Eubank is using new video geotargeting and push notification features of the Weather Company’s Max Engage with Watson platform. By adding these features, the vendor says it will be easier for presenters to go hyperlocal and tell weather stories that are more relevant to smaller audiences in specific microclimates.

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“From a meteorologist’s point of view, this is as good as it gets,” Eubank told TVNewsCheck. “Before, we used to go on radio or TV and broadcast this broad message out. Now, you have the ability to target the audience — not with a broad brush, but targeted, specific for where you are, and even targeting the activities they are participating in.”

Using the Weather Company’s Max Engage, video weather forecasts can be pushed through mobile, social and web. For mobile, the content of each video can be individualized based on a user’s geographic location.
Max Engage with Watson’s new targeting features are just one of many incremental steps forward as broadcasters seek to make their weather products as relevant as possible in a world where weather information is increasingly consumed on mobile devices — and not necessarily via TV apps.

“The geotargeting can be anything from the entire DMA, down to particular states, down to counties, down to very small regions and areas where the weather is going to impact people,” says Rodney Thompson, senior offering management leader at the Weather Company.

 On-Air And Local

Some of the most recent developments promise to give meteorologists the tools and ability to quickly and interactively customize weather reports and provide details that will resonate with users in specific geographic locations.

Brand Connections

AccuWeather’s StormDirector+ weather system, announced at NAB 2016 and updated with new features rolled out at NAB 2017, provides customized local weather forecasts that incorporate radar, satellite, severe weather watches, real-time storm tracking and other data.

When integrated with AccuWeather’s StoryTeller interactive touchscreen solution, local weather teams can spontaneously explore and present detailed weather conditions for specific geographic areas.

“For the presenter to really go on-the-fly wherever the data might take them and tell that story is really powerful,” says Bill Boss, director of product management for AccuWeather’s Display Systems and Services Group. “This gives them a lot of flexibility in terms of the kind of data they want to show at a particular moment in time.”

Media Gateway in Little Rock, Ark., uses multiple StormDirector+ systems from their location to create local weather presentations for nine TV news operations across the country.

“For me, it’s very versatile,” says Jeff Lyle, Media Gateway’s CTO-managing partner. “I can jump from one market to another in seconds, and it updates its radar, temperatures and conditions in real time, very quickly off IP Internet, as opposed to waiting for satellite.”

After looking at several systems, Lyle says Media Gateway chose StormDirector+ based on its ability to isolate multiple zones within a city, town, or community where there may be potentially significant differences in weather conditions and forecast. “It’s built around touch screen, so [the meteorologists] are able to touch parts of town and expand for severe weather, precipitation or forecasting,” he adds.

“That’s easy to do on the fly ... they can do whatever they want on that screen to help viewers get the most up to date information.”

App Advances

Although better localization of broadcast weather reports can help, consumers are clearly demanding and increasingly expecting localized weather by smartphone.

In a survey of 1,500 users of mobile apps from Newscycle Solutions, 33% said they use the apps to open weather content — higher than any other content type. Local and national news ranked second and third in user open rate, respectively.

Remarkably, that seems to be a mismatch with what the publishers are actually sending out via push notifications. Weather, sports and entertainment news represented 10% or less of the content types pushed, compared with local news at 35% and national news at 24%.

The bottom line, according to Newscycle, is that mobile app users are looking for pushed content that is personalized to their preferences and interests. Toward that end, Newscycle offers geo-located weather and traffic through their apps. “We have over 500 apps in market, and they’re using this reliably and efficiently across the board,” says sales engineer Geoff Kehrer.

Newscycle offers, WSI and Baron as weather providers, and integrates with National Weather Service (NWS) notifications based on a user’s location. In order for the geo-located services to work, users need to ensure that location services are enabled on their devices, and sites need to have Newscycle’s push notification services as part of their mobile package.


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Overnights, adults 18-49 for June 20, 2018
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Source: Nielsen


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