The Weather Channel has long been the leader in weather-related programming, but its ratings have been in decline, and as more of the entertainment world shifts to streaming services, it appears that the almost 40-year-old weather network is under fire. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch recently announced that Fox Weather, a 24-hour livestreaming channel, will launch later this year. According to The New York Times, Fox has already poached some talent from The Weather Channel as it prepares for its launch. At the same time, another popular weather app, AccuWeather, announced that it will launch its own dedicated streaming service this summer, called AccuWeather NOW.
AccuWeather’s approach is also to provide 24-hour coverage, but the streaming service will put a spotlight on telling stories about the impact of extreme weather and will air both short-form and long-form documentaries. General Manager Sarah Katt also said that AccuWeather intends to leverage social platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram to better connect with a younger demographic.
The Weather Channel isn’t standing still. In June, the network announced its own streaming service, The Weather Channel Plus, to launch in Q4. It will cost subscribers $4.99 per month, whereas AccuWeather did not mention pricing, suggesting that it may be ad-supported. The Weather Channel is already available as part of streaming services like frndly TV, fubo TV, and AT&T TV; it’s also available via Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV devices.
The fact that The Weather Channel has become ubiquitous as an app and video service could make it hard to topple. Interpret’s VideoWatch™ shows that the brand has an edge among the US population, as 13% used the app in the last week compared to just 7% for AccuWeather and 6% for Yahoo Weather. Moreover, The Weather Channel’s users seem more engaged with paid streaming services, watching over an hour more weekly than AccuWeather’s users.
As climate change continues to cause more extreme weather events across the globe, weather coverage and content on the impact of weather events is likely to see increased interest. Media is poised to benefit from the ongoing climate crisis, but hopefully more coverage leads to more awareness and concrete action to hit the brakes on Earth’s warming trajectory.