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The Weather Channel Launches New CTV App for $2.99 a Month

The Weather Channel CTV App
A new app lets subscribers watch The Weather Channel via connected TV (Image credit: The Weather Channel)

It looks like a sunny day for cord cutters.

The Weather Channel, owned by Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, said it is rolling out an upgraded connected TV app that includes a live stream of The Weather Channel television network that people without pay-TV subscriptions can subscribe to for $2.99 a month.

Weather Channel, launched 40 years ago, said this is the first time it has offered its own direct-to-consumer subscription, a move that will make its forecasts, reports on weather emergencies and other programming available to an audience beyond the shrinking pool of cable and satellite subscribers.

The move follows last year's launch of Fox Weather, a free-ad supported streaming service. 

“This is a huge step for The Weather Channel television network, as we expand access to our best-in-class weather news and entertainment content,” said Allen, founder and CEO of Allen Media Group. “Our upgraded app allows subscribers to tailor their TV viewing experience to their location and needs.  As many regions in the country prepare for the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, it was very important to launch this new app experience to ensure that our life-saving weather information is available to everyone, 24/7.”

Also: Busy Byron Allen Wants To Be Big, but Doesn’t Want To Be a Unicorn

Making a whole linear cable channel available over-the-top is a rarity. Most cable carriage deals call for channels to be available exclusively via pay-TV.

“It is unusual for a cable network to offer the full linear feed to non-pay-tv subscribers,” said Scott Robson, senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Kagan. “Most services require the user to sign in to their TV provider to view the live channel feed.”

One of the reasons why few people signed up for CNN Plus before new management pulled the plug on the short-lived subscription service is that a subscription to CNN Plus did not include access to the linear CNN feed.

Cable operators pay for that exclusivity to retain subscribers.

Kagan estimates that for 2022, cable operators pay 19 cents per subscriber for The Weather Channel, generating $142.3 million in revenue for The Weather Channel. 

Asked how it’s offering the same fee to its pay-TV and OTT viewers through its new app, The Weather Channel told Broadcasting+Cable that the new app offers authenticated TV Everywhere access to The Weather Channel for the customers of its existing distribution partners, with technology built into the app that enhances their experience. In addition, the app expands authenticated access to customers who don’t subscribe through other means. 

The enhancements include interactive features such as local forecasts, 24/7 weather alerts and real-time maps and radar. The app also provides users access to an on-demand library of original programming.

Also: Weather Channel To Provide Content, Technology for CBS News

In the past Allen has sued cable giants Comcast and Charter Communications for discrimination against his Black-owned companies when they didn’t carry his television networks. His relations with cable operators seems better now.

Allen’s suit against Comcast wound up in the U.S. Supreme Court before being settled in 2020. Allen’s Entertainment Studios reached a deal that extended Comcast’s carriage agreement covering The Weather Channel and 14 broadcast stations owned by Allen.

Allen’s suit against Charter was resolved and withdrawn in 2021. Charter renewed its carriage of The Weather Channel and added Allen's Pets.TV, Cars.TV, Recipe.TV and Justice Central.

Allen acquired The Weather Channel for $300 million in 2018. In an interview, Allen said he sees Allen Media Group as a digital-first company and called weather news “live-saving information” that everyone should have. This month, he launched Weather Channel en Español, an ad supported 24/7 streaming service.

The new Weather Channel CTV app is available on Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. The company said it will be available soon on Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, Vizio and Comcast’s Xfinity Flex.

Ads on the version of The Weather Channel seen on the app will be different from those seen on cable. The Weather Channel will be using dynamic ad insertion technology on CTV, making commercials addressable. 

Last year, Allen Media Group announced plans to launch The Weather Channel Plus, a $4.99 a month streaming subscription service that would offer more than 50 news and entertainment streaming channels. Allen said the service would launch in the fourth quarter and The Weather Channel declined to say whether it was still in the pipeline.

Allen Media Group also offers free streaming services including Local Now and theGrio. ■

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.