When building your on-air weather presentation, matching the industry standard in terms of graphics and storytelling is no longer enough. Growing and protecting market share requires a captivating viewer experience that bolsters your local expertise with the best available data, cutting-edge visualizations and the ability to meet audiences across platforms.
Here are five important areas to prioritize when evaluating weather broadcast solutions for your station.
1. Cross-platform capabilities
Modern audiences expect you to have a seamless presence throughout television, mobile, social and web channels. But delivering high-quality content across these outlets can be difficult and resource-intensive without a centralized system to support cross-platform distribution.
For these reasons, select a provider with a comprehensive suite of solutions that enables you to streamline workflows for delivering cross-platform content without sacrificing quality. This should include automatically publishing across social platforms, sending hyperlocal mobile notifications when certain weather thresholds are met and incorporating your trusted on-air talent in outgoing content. To help make your audience feel like part of the team, be sure you can easily include their social posts about the weather in your on-air broadcast.
Remember that these cross-platform capabilities can build revenue by enabling targeted mobile advertisements based on the user’s location and preferences. Some solutions may also facilitate new revenue by encouraging users to subscribe to premium weather content.
When your audience has so many options for weather information, what will make your broadcast stand out from the rest? Though your unique local knowledge and recognized on-air personalities provide an advantage, you also need a superior visual experience to grab the audience’s attention and keep them engaged.
Empower your talent and production staff with a robust set of tools that enable them to be both more creative and more efficient. This should include graphics like customizable earth scenes, 3D images, icons, tables and more. Many broadcasters are also incorporating augmented reality in innovative ways to immerse the audience in the weather story, such as creating virtual storm environments inside the studio to demonstrate the potential severity.
3. Remote accessibility
As demonstrated during the pandemic, the future of broadcasting is the ability to function at a high level outside the walls of your studio. Just because your meteorologist is broadcasting from their garage is no reason not to have attention-grabbing augmented-reality visualizations and the appearance of a sleek and professional (even virtual) studio. This requires reliable tools that enable your staff to create exciting on-air presentations even when they’re in the field or at home.
Determine whether the solutions are all on-premises or if they can be accessed through the cloud. Solutions that are cloud-accessible allow broadcasters to tap into the full strength and potential of their station groups by setting up shared repositories for data, graphics and scenes.
Access to these shared resources across the group can also help improve the broadcast quality for each station, reduce production time and allow stations to help each other during severe weather or even fill in during an outage or personal time off.
4. Critical data
Forecast accuracy may be the single most important competitive differentiator for your station as an estimated 83% of viewers choose their local newscast based on the weather.* During the pandemic, forecasts have become even more important as people rely on weather predictions to plan when they can get outside and safely associate with friends and family. Showing your audience that you can deliver the best forecasts with the most regularity is a powerful way to build loyalty and keep them coming back for more.
Find out how a potential provider is sourcing and modeling their forecast data, how frequently forecasts are updated and the resolution of the forecasts. Be sure to research model performance as well, preferably as evaluated by a third party.
Also, you may want to choose a robust solution that offers various models you can reference and enables you to incorporate preferred local data sources. This can help deliver a more precise picture of tomorrow’s weather.
5. A community of users
Speaking of collaboration, don’t underestimate the value of community. A large pool of long-time users suggests that the products and brand have become a trusted resource.
Community also drives innovation. The ability to connect with other broadcasters who are using the same tools can help improve your on-air presentation through the sharing of best practices, useful tips and advanced techniques. Ask your provider if they host events or virtual spaces in which clients can come together to learn, network and generate new ideas for how to gain the most value from the tools available.
Why should you choose The Weather Company?
Solutions from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, are designed to give you an edge over the competition by telling a better weather story across platforms. Ranked as the world’s most accurate forecaster,** our offerings help you drive revenue and engage viewers with content that stands out for all the right reasons.
*Local Weather Consumers-Connection and Dependence, CJ&N Research, December 2020
**The Weather Company is the world's most accurate forecaster, according to a 2010-2017 study, which is the most recent, most comprehensive study available from ForecastWatch: https://www.forecastwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/Three_Region_Accuracy_Overview_2010-2017.pdf (links resides outside of ibm.com).