Broadcasters have the edge. It's time to leverage it.

By Rodney Thompson

Blog 5: Sponsors

This is an ongoing, bi-weekly blog about Max Velocity from The Weather Company, an IBM Business. If you did not read the previous installments, you will find the complete blog series by clicking here. Otherwise, let’s continue with the fifth update. For this blog, we talk about the use of sponsors in your weathercasts to drive more local context and ad revenue.

 

The revenue from OTT has the potential to be larger than linear television commercial advertising. Weather is a station’s most valuable local news asset and will be key in helping you recognize revenue from OTT. There are a couple of challenges. First it requires a shift in content workflows which in turn requires new tools to facilitate the quick turn production of digital content. Secondly, most stations are not monetizing their weather assets to their full potential right now  Stations need to think of creative ways to tie in weather with sponsor opportunities. Max Velocity is being built to help address both of these challenges.

Our ”moat” in broadcast is our local knowledge and we need to make our moat even bigger to differentiate from other weather sources. What would this look like in the perfect world? What is the ”perfect weathercast” example? Let’s say we have a cold spell in our forecast. This is an opportunity to leverage our lucrative HVAC advertiser while informing our viewing audience with some native advertising. I build my weather story in Max Velocity and schedule our advertiser to come into the session and give us a few tips as we head into this cold spell. It might sound something like this:

<Meteorologist> ”By mid-week, that artic air drops down and puts us into a much colder air mass. We will be dropping well below zero in the overnight hours on Wednesday. You will want to prepare for this. I have Mark joining me today from Total Plumbing to talk about a few things you can do to prepare for the cold. Mark, we are dropping to subzero. I imagine you guys get really busy with this kind of weather. What are a few things our viewers can do to prepare for the cold weather?”

<Mark> ”We typically see two things. Furnaces are under a heavy load which makes failures more common. It’s really important for oil furnaces to be cleaned and inspected yearly. We typically replace the injection nozzle and do a general cleaning which will ensure the furnace will stay running. Secondly, it’s not uncommon for pipes to freeze. Typically letting a faucet drip can prevent pipes from freezing.”

<Meteorologist> ”So, leaving a faucet dripping keeps water moving which can prevent pipes from freezing? That’s pretty good advice.”

<Mark> ”Yes, many times it’s the hot water pipes that freeze first so just a slight drip of hot and cold water can make a big difference in this kind of weather.”

<Meteorologist> ”That’s great advice. Any final thoughts for our audience?”

<Mark> ”Just check those fuel levels to make sure you can get through this cold spell.”

<Meteorologist> ”Thank you Mark from Total Plumbing. As we head towards our artic temperature plunge, bundle up everyone!”

You are likely thinking this nirvana is near impossible. Besides the meteorologists want to focus on telling the weather story. But, in this nirvana everyone wins. The sponsor gets great visibility, the meteorologist puts the weather in context, the station commands higher sponsorship revenue, and the viewer gets native advertising that helps them. 

Our role at The Weather Company is to ensure you have the tools that will give you the flexibility to cover the workflow changes that are coming. To really optimize monetization, you are going to need the right tools, tighter collaboration with your sales/weather teams and a change in workflows.  

Max Velocity makes it virtually effortless to bring in external story tellers. Here are our clients’ thoughts on Max Velocity and sponsor-based story telling.

Brent Watts, Chief Meteorologist for WDBJ7 says, “Gathering fresh content to keep the audience engaged during times of severe weather is much easier than during the more frequent, quiet weather days. Having the ability to quickly ’bring in’ experts remotely with Max Velocity, stations can offset that downward spiral of engagement seen on sunny stretches by creating relevant, informative videos which can be monetized through sponsorships.

I could see Max Velocity being utilized to produce anything from sponsored gardening segments to golf tips with an added forecast. A local hardware chain could even offer ways to winterize your home as the seasons change. Content marketing is extremely popular right now and being able to monetize videos and streamline the creation of them using Max Velocity, seems like a perfect combination for improving engagement and the bottom line.”

Tim Heller of HellerWeather says, “Max Velocity will be a useful tool for broadcast meteorologists who need to produce organic sponsored content. They could add an interview with the manager of the local lumber yard or grocery store to their tropical weather update. Or include a soundbite from a towing company or auto mechanic with a winter weather update. Combining weather updates with helpful interviews with appropriate sponsors can benefit everyone.”

 

Please check back in a couple of weeks. This is an evolving blog series that will reveal new Max Velocity capabilities that are coming and will continue to provide client perspectives on how it will reshape weathercasting.