Weather Channel Forecast: For Sale

The weather channel, a shell of what it used to be, is up for sale. For those that remember, the Weather Channel began in the early 1980’s as a channel devoted soley to the weather: what is happening now (currently) and what the forecast is.

Established in 1982, the channel initially attracted an audience of devoted meteorology enthusiasts. But it has gained a broader following by showing “docudramas” such as Storm Stories which recreate the exploits of people hit by extreme weather. It reaches 96m households.

A “broader” audience? Perhaps. A smaller audience after losing true weather enthusiasts and meteorologists? Likely. They had a solid schedule that repeated every hour, including the local forecasts on the 8s. That is about the only remnant that has remained, with most live programming having been replaced by sensationalistic, tabloid-style programming instead of current weather analysis and forecast discussions.

A round-the-clock American weather forecasting channel, renowned for its intrepid rain-drenched reporters standing in the eye of hurricanes, is up for sale with an estimated price tag of $5bn (£2.5bn).

The Weather Channel has been put on the block by its parent company Landmark Communications, which is owned by the Virginia-based Batten family.

Among those reportedly expressing interest are General Electric, Comcast and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Some 110 meteorologists are employed by the network, which supplies forecasts to 157 newspapers and to on-line portals such as Yahoo and MSNBC. The channel and its offshoots generated $1.75bn (£887m) in revenue last year, with sales even generated by a selection of compact discs of music played during forecasts.

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