Business challenge

This TV station prides itself on its unique, in-depth weather reports. How could it ensure it always delivers accurate forecasts and presentations that keep viewers engaged and informed?

Transformation

The station implemented visualization and data solutions from The Weather Company, making it easier and faster for its meteorologists to prepare customized graphics for their daily weathercasts.

Results

Enables

preparation of highly accurate weather reports

Simplifies

creation of state-of-the-art graphics and social media integration

Continues

station’s tradition of innovation in weather broadcasting

Business challenge story

Delivering pioneering weather reports

Innovation and creativity are the hallmarks of this African TV station’s daily weather presentations. The station has pioneered an in-depth, scientific approach with its multi-lingual weather reports, which are presented by a team of highly-skilled meteorologists and atmospheric scientists.

A spokesperson for the TV station begins: “We’re proud of leading the way in weather reporting. Before we launched, most weathercasts in the region would offer little more than details of basic rainfall for the coming days, and minimum and maximum temperatures. When we first introduced new graphics to our reports, viewers were stunned. And we still see ourselves as pioneers, with a goal of providing better, more innovative weather coverage than any other broadcaster.”

Each day, a team of six meteorologists prepares forecasts for broadcast and publication on the station’s online platform. Conditions can vary dramatically within the regions that the station covers, from tornadoes in some areas to drought in others. Even within a few kilometers, weather can be very different on the coast compared to areas just inland.

To ensure it always delivers informative weathercasts packed with visual interest, the station relies on accurate weather data and tools to help create unique, compelling presentations. However, the company began to recognize the limitations of its existing solutions.

Preparing customized graphics for the reports was a complex, time-consuming procedure. If the weather team wanted to collaborate across multiple workstations, it was a tricky process that would require several workarounds. The weather data was also not as precise as the station would have liked, so it knew it was the right time to start looking for a smarter solution.

Thanks to the Max solutions, we’re cementing our position as a leading provider of captivating, informative weathercasts—we’re even seeing our broadcast rivals scramble to adopt similar technology to catch up with us!

—Spokesperson, leading African TV station

Transformation story

Enhancing online and on-air weather updates

To reinforce its position in the broadcasting industry, the TV station decided to deploy a suite of Max Weather solutions from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

The spokesperson elaborates: “We conducted a comprehensive assessment of several weather solutions to ensure we found the best product to add extra impact to our reports. In the end, we narrowed the search down to just two vendors, before opting to work with The Weather Company.

“We already had experience working with The Weather Company’s solutions, and have always found their services to be high-quality. What we especially liked about the Max system was that it would give us a single point of control for both on-air and online forecast updates, a real game-changer for our meteorologists.”

The station’s meteorologists also use data from The Weather Company’s RPM forecasting model to prepare their forecasts, before utilizing the Max software tools to develop clear, relevant graphics and content to keep viewers informed.

In particular, the station is using Max Studio to support its innovative on-air weather presentations. The meteorological team can create and upload customized graphics and present them on a chroma key during the weathercast, as well as integrating social media posts from viewers for a more interactive audience experience. The chroma key gives the station a greater level of flexibility in how it broadcasts reports, enabling it to change camera angles and prepare more dynamic our presentations without any risk of graphical glitches.

Max Web enables the TV station to publish changing weather data on its digital platform and to update on-air broadcasts simultaneously. The online platform allows users to search for particular locations, and to find an hour-by-hour forecast. Meanwhile, the Forecast Editor function means the weather team can easily make regular updates to its forecasts at any time.

The station is also making use of the built-in Style Guide of Max Studio to help its bilingual meteorologists flip between several languages when preparing weathercasts. Three of the station’s presenters deliver reports in multiple languages, and have to switch the language of the graphics to ensure town names and other text is correctly labelled for the audience. The Style Guide feature reminds the presenters to set the language correctly, reducing the scope for human error.

The spokesperson continues: “Working with The Weather Company has been great. The implementation of the new Max solutions was a smooth process, and we have an excellent ongoing relationship. We love working with our primary contact at The Weather Company, in particular: he has traveled to our studios and has a deep understanding of our setup and special requirements.

“The level of support is also superb. Whenever we encounter minor issues, we just write a quick email in the morning and we know we will be having a Skype meeting with The Weather Company’s top experts in the afternoon. They really go the extra mile for us.”

Results story

Strengthening audience loyalty

Supported by The Weather Company, this African TV station has the tools to prepare even more visually appealing weather content, keeping viewers up-to-speed with events and potentially strengthening brand loyalty. The station’s unique presentations are also helping it to continue to set the standard for weather presentation in the region.

Since implementing the Max solutions, viewer feedback has been excellent. For the meteorological team, preparing customized graphics for the reports is now much easier and faster. Previously, when creating daily graphics for each report on its old systems, the weather team would have to render many separate video files, and add place names and text. Now, with the Max solutions, it can prepare the weather maps for multiple regions in a single file.

The Max solutions also significantly enhance the station’s ability to collaborate when preparing weathercasts. Before, users working on one production workstation would not be able to access and update a graphic prepared by a colleague on a separate computer, and would have to manually copy it over. The Max solutions, on the other hand, automatically update files across the station’s network, facilitating user access to the latest graphics. 

The Weather Company data feed is also a significant improvement on the station’s old solution. Previously, there would be gaps in the coverage for some areas; in fact, many of the international data weather feeds on the market don’t offer great quality data for the African continent.

With the RPM forecast model, however, the station has a detailed picture of localized weather events. For example, thunderstorms in southern Africa are much smaller than those that build up along the Equator. Global weather data models often spot the big storms but miss the smaller ones. The RPM model is much better at picking up and representing thunderstorm activity, as well as smaller scale conditions such as fog along the coast. Armed with that insight, the station's meteorologists can prepare reports with an exceptional level of accuracy.

With the Forecast Editor function in Max Daily, the TV station is also making subtle changes to its forecasts based on their local knowledge. For many of the locations that the station covers, there are particular atmospheric nuances.

In Cape Town, for example, the city is flanked by the ocean on one side and Table Mountain on the other, while the airport lies 20 km away in completely different topographic conditions. Weather across the city is often very localized, and the meteorologists must rely on their own experience alongside our data feed to read conditions. The Forecast Editor enables them to continuously update their predictions, ensuring viewers and online users get the benefit of their deep local knowledge.

In addition, the TV station can now add social media posts from its viewers to broadcasts much more quickly. Previously, one meteorologist would have to contact the viewer, save the photo, ensure it was on the correct workstation and then convert it into the right file format. Thanks to the automated capabilities of the Max solutions, the meteorologist can simply drag the image from its source and drop it direct into the weather presentation.

The station is now planning to integrate more of the Max solutions into its weathercasts, adding even greater visual impact for its audience. Next up, the station intends to use the visualizations and cloud templates of Max Sky when reporting on major weather events.

The spokesperson concludes: “Our work with The Weather Company is helping us stay streets ahead of other weather broadcasters in Africa in terms of innovation. Thanks to the Max solutions, we’re cementing our position as a leading provider of captivating, informative weathercasts—we’re even seeing our broadcast rivals scramble to adopt similar technology to catch up with us!”

About Leading African TV station

This client is a leading African TV station.

Take the nest step

The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helps people make informed decisions and take action in the face of weather. The company offers the most accurate forecasts globally with personalized and actionable weather data and insights to millions of consumers, as well as thousands of marketers and businesses via Weather’s API, its business solutions division, and its own digital products from The Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com).

The company delivers around 25 billion forecasts daily. Its products include the world’s most downloaded weather app, a network of 250,000 personal weather stations, a top-20 U.S. website, one of the world’s largest IoT data platforms, and industry-leading business solutions.

Weather Means Business™. The world’s biggest brands in aviation, energy, insurance, media, and government rely on The Weather Company for data, technology platforms and services to help improve decision-making and respond to weather’s impact on business.

For more, visit theweathercompany.com.

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