From the strange bedfellows department.
The Weather Channel, founded by my dear friends John Coleman and Joe D’Aleo, has seen a tumultuous series of ownership changes since it’s inception, and those ownership changes have usually taken it further and further away from it’s core mission as outlined in the recently released book:
Now we hear this From Bloomberg:
Comedian Byron Allen Buys the Weather Channel for $300 Million
Comedian and producer Byron Allen acquired the Weather Channel TV network as he looks to expand his film and TV production company into a major media business.
Allen’s Entertainment Studios Inc. bought the network from Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast Corp., according to a statement Thursday. The price was approximately $300 million, according to a person familiar with the terms who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. That’s a fraction of what the larger company sold for a decade ago.
The deal includes the famous cable TV network, but not online assets such as the website Weather.com and related mobile apps, which were acquired by International Business Machines Corp. in January 2016. In an interview on a day in which rain and snow blanketed much of the U.S., Allen said he was attracted to the reach and familiarity of the brand.
“Snowstorms, rain, mudslides, our lives and our families’ safety depend on this info,” Allen said. “When a big storm happens, it’s the Super Bowl of weather. As many as 30 million people watch.
Allen’s company produces and syndicates TV shows and has released films, such as last year’s thriller “47 Meters Down.” It also owns Comedy.tv and Cars.tv, which are distributed online and through pay-TV providers.
The fact that Allen owns web properties “comedy.tv” and “cars.tv” but no satellite channels suggests to me that he might have designs more on the satellite channel itself than the weather content. Readers may recall when Al Gore sold his satellite channel, named Current TV (which carried a bunch of SJW and global warming agitprop features) for close to $500 million in January 2013. It was a bum steer as far as ratings and revenue goes, and he sold it to Al Jazeeera, which was looking for an “in” to the USA satellite TV market. Al Jazeera promptly gutted Current TV, and made it into their own news channel.
Consider the situation here with TWC today in that context.
TWC’s satellite channel was sold for 300 million dollars (“… a fraction of what the larger company sold for a decade ago.”), lower than that of Gore’s non-ratings grabber CurrentTV. There are two other weather channel’s on the satellite selections now: WeatherNation and AccuWeatherTV. This makes the weather on TV market saturated, and given some of the recent stupid attempts TWC made at ratings grabbings such as “Fat Guys in the Woods”, it seems TWC isn’t quite the moneymaking powerhouse it used to be. Then there’s the constant climate alarmism on TWC which has been alienating viewers (they want weather, not climate).
Is TWC even relevant anymore? After all, you can get more relevant weather on your cell-phone instantly than you can waiting for TWC’s “Local on the 8’s”. You don’t even have to be in your living room.
This is why IBM bought the TWC digital online presence. They aren’t stupid.
While Allen is talking how important TWC during severe weather is, calling it “…the Super Bowl of weather. As many as 30 million people watch.” I suspect he has other designs on the channel. The A.C. Nielsen numbers show that NONE of the three satellite TV weather channels are in the top 30, either by rankings or ratings.
But Comedy Central is, at number 24. Many other humor related channels are in the top 30. Nick at Night, Nickelodeon, Adult Swim, Nick Jr., etc.
I think we’ll see the end of The Weather Channel, and the satellite channel will turn into something more in line with Byron Allen’s interests. Given there are two other weather on TV channels to choose from, I doubt it’s demise will cause more than a ripple for the general public, especially since the “safety” argument, important 30-40 years ago when TWC was founded by Coleman and D’Aleo, is widely mitigated now by the cell phone.
Perhaps TWC has already gotten into comedy, as this recent gaffe shows:
Apparently it was a “tornado warning of unusual size”.
That said, John Coleman left me with a wonderful gift before he passed on, one that could give bring a pure meteorological driven TWC back into living rooms again. I’ll have more on that in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.