Jukin Media, which has grown by turning user-generated content into streaming networks, is launching WeatherSpy, which aims to attract younger viewers by pushing adventurous stories of nature and the elements in addition to forecasts.
WeatherSpy starts out with distribution on Samsung TV Plus, Vizio and Xumo. It also will have a short-form series on Snapchat’s Discover page.
“The traditional TV weather viewer is generally older and not digitally native. Our goal with WeatherSpy is to reimagine what a weather network could be and make it more fun and appeal to a younger demographic,” said Cameron Saless, chief business officer at JukinMedia. “Through WeatherSpy, we aspire to appeal to a new generation of cord-cutters and cord-nevers, and fill a void on the top ad-supported linear streaming platforms and on social media.”
The network will air four live weather updates per hour. Jukin didn’t say from where it will be getting its forecasts, or who will be delivering them.
It did say it will be launching with an original series from Jukin Media called ViralWild and 12 other series from other non-fiction programming producers. Those partners include AirVuz, which features drone videos; Big Media, with shows including Alaska Bush Pilots and Survival Science; Cineflix Rights, with Angry Planet, Dangerous Flights and Rocky Mountain Railroad; dostudioPRO, with Wonder Science; Insight TV with 4K shows including 30/10 Challenge and Chasing Monsters.
WeatherSpy is the fourth linear streaming channel from Jukin Media and the first it has started without first having a brand established in social media. The other brands are FailArmy, The Pet Collective and People Are Awesome.
They now represent the fastest growing part of the company, said Jill Goldfarb, VP of linear programming at Jukin.
“The channels really grew and grew very quickly, and Jukin decided to build out a team and really invest in the linear business,” said Goldfarb, who previously worked at programmers including Fox, Discovery and ABC Family.
Viewing for the channels increased 50% year over year to about 6.5 million hours combined.
The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted viewing of over-the-top video. “We certainly saw eyeballs grow during COVID as people were looking for things to do as there were reruns on traditional TV. It’s no secret that streaming channels have increase viewership and we’ve benefited as well,” she said.
Goldfarb said Jukin expects WeatherSpy to attract the same viewers in their 20s and early 30s who watch its other channels, as opposed to the older viewers who watch other weather programming.
"We took a different approach to weather," she said. "We think of weather as an adventure and that’s how we’ve approached it."
Jukin will sell advertising with a combination of programmatic and direct ad sales across its channels.
The company will be using its social assets and linear channels to promote the launch.
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