The Atlanta-based Weather Channel today revamped its set, its graphics and its slogan: "It's Amazing Out There."
It will also air weather info all the time, even during commercials and long-form programming. And the station is adding more elements to the data, including pollen counts when that matters.
"Our core product is often the presentation of data," said Scot Safon, the new chief marketing officer who worked for years at Turner Broadcasting and ran HLN for three years until August. "And it has to be done in a way that gives people the stuff they need to know and a whole bunch of other stuff they didn't expect 10 years ago. People's expectations have changed."
Shows such as “Highway Thru Hell,” “Hurricane Hunters” and “Prospectors" will be part of the banner “Natural Drama.”
‘It’s Amazing Out There’ celebrates and honors how weather shapes our world in both wonderful and dramatic ways,” Safon told Variety. “We hope this brand message inspires viewers to explore, investigate, and appreciate the experience of weather in all of its many forms.”
In a separate interview, I asked him whether the term "amazing," which usually is placed in a positive realm, might come across odd when, say, the network is covering the deadly Philippines typhoon. "The contention that is going on out there is amazing is equally applicable to something catastrophic as well as something wonderful," Safon said. "I think we'll be careful how we apply [the slogan] to certain things. The fundamental contention is what nature does is amazing."
He said just being inside the building with meteorologists and weather enthusiasts (that's what the Weather Channel calls its hard-core dedicated fans), he discovered that they find beauty and coolness in all types of weather, not just the crazy stuff. The new slogan, offered up by Minneapolis agency mono the first day he arrived at the network six weeks ago, he said, "speaks of something that underlies the energy of this place."
Safon is also up for more non-fiction storytelling along the lines of "Coast Guard Alaska," but isn't focused on airing weather-related movies, as the network dabbled in a few years ago. (Read my story about that effort from 2009.)
"We are getting back to our roots as a company," said David Clark, president, Weather Channel, to AdAge.com. "We wanted to get back to the core idea that this is a place where people get the weather."
The network in recent years has tried to expand beyond basic weather coverage with more reality programming as more people get their weather from its very popular app.
It drew an average of 189,000 viewers at any given time last week, ranked 57th among basic cable channels and comparable to Oxygen, WE-TV and OWN, according to Nielsen Media.
According to Glassdoor.com, satisfaction at the Weather Channel is rather low, though it may be because the reviews are disgruntled former employees. Only 34 percent of those who put in reviews recommend the company to another person and the CEO David Kenny only has a 16 percent approval rating.