Weather Pushes Data Targeting, Multiscreen Series

Execs introduce several reality/adventure shows for TV/Web/Mobile

Beer is key to understanding what exactly The Weather Company is up to with its much hyped data/ad tech division, WeatherFX.

To date, if you’ve had trouble getting a read about what’s so transformative about Weather targeting its users with ads based on brand insights (like say, advertising iced coffee during the summer, not the winter), the company on Monday took several steps toward better articulating its vision during a NewFront presentation in New York.

According to WeatherFX general manager Vikram Somaya, Chicago beers sales typically spike on summer days after three days of bad weather. So that’s a good day to advertise Old Style to folks with a Wrigleyville zip code.

Per Somaya and his ad tech all-star team, there are oodles of similar examples where advertisers can blend the company’s proprietary weather data with their own sales data and unearth unique actionable insights, which can be used to execute opportunistic, data-rich ad campaigns in real time. In other words, when pollen counts spike in New England, it’s time to advertise the Zyrtec. Or when several days of precipitation end in areas where outdoor sports are big, it might be time for Nike to advertise climbing gear. And so on.

“We believe this is revolutionary,” said Somaya. “And there’s no last minute scrambling.”

Beyond data, Weather execs spent Monday’s presentation touting the site’s relationship with its most passionate users—they say there are 46 million ‘weather enthusiasts’ in the U.S. (i.e., people who check the forecast a whole lot)—and talking up a slate of originals. Among the new shows planned for the back half of this year are I Am Unstoppable (October) which focuses on elite athletes who have overcome major obstacles, such as amputations; Virus Hunters (November) a documentary series on the fight to halt global epidemics); and Alive (December) which will feature real stories of extreme weather survivors. All three shows will be available on TV, the Web and mobile all at once, said officials.

While multiscreen is a big point of differentiation, Web video is increasingly becoming a priority for Weather, as have huge storms. During Hurricane Sandy last October the site generated 14 million streams and 200 million minutes of watch time.

Weather also announced a new brand partnership with The Home Depot and Twitter that blends video with promoted tweets, targeted based on local weather conditions.