Fox is planning a streaming weather service
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The network announced Dec. 9, 2020, it hopes to have the service, which will include a live stream and mobile apps, sometime in the third quarter of 2021.
No plans to add it to linear cable providers were announced.
The service will be headquartered in New York but leverage over 75 forecasters working at 17 Fox owned stations across the country as well as the network’s conservative leaning cable commentary channel.
Sharri Berg has been named to be the first president of Fox Weather. Berg is currently the current chief operating officer of news and operations for Fox Television Stations, which could prove valuable given that the venture likely will need close cooperation from the stations.
Utilizing forecasters across the country for a national broadcast isn’t a new concept — most recently it’s been promoted heavily by Nexstar’s “NewsNation” (which has hundreds of stations with at least one forecaster).
That said, it’s worth noting that this could also be part of a move to centralizing weather among Fox stations to at least some degree, although Fox did not mention that in the announcement. Most Fox stations already share graphics, including weather looks.
More extensive centralization of weather (and commentary) has already been tried out by Sinclair Broadcast Group, where unsuspecting local viewers used to be given forecasts by talent based out of the company’s headquarters and not the local station.
The company also built, under the so called “News Central” model, similar sets at its stations along with matching ones at its headquarters so that nationally produced segments, including right leaning political commentary, could be produced and fed (mostly) seamlessly into local newscast.
Weather TV has long been dominated by both local news and The Weather Channel, a former unit of NBCUniversal.
Prior to its investment in that network, NBCU operated the 24 hour WeatherPlus service that was combined live national feeds, computer controlled graphics and L-bar and local content from participating stations.
Select NBC stations carried the feed on their digital subchannels — and local cable carriage of that feed as a standalone channel was also common.
Many NBC stations also rebranded under the “WeatherPlus” name on their local newscasts — a way to both cross promote the standalone offering and local news as well as make it easier to share content between both channels.