Weather Channel Stands Alone After Digital Sale

With IBM reported to be close to acquiring the valuable digital and data assets of Weather Co., The Weather Channel will continue to operate under current ownership.

"The Weather Channel will continue to be owned and supported by our existing shareholders -- Bain Capital, Blackstone and NBCUniversal -- and operate as a standalone business,” Dave Shull, CEO of The Weather Channel Television Network, said in a statement.

Weather Co. CEO Dave Kenny is expected to move to IBM.

“Each month, almost half of all American households tune in to The Weather Channel network for coverage of severe weather, daily forecasts, and the science behind the weather. With our world class weather experts and thousands of localized versions of the network, we are uniquely positioned to provide the world’s best storm coverage as a hyper-local streaming service as well. We are continuing to invest in our strategic partnerships with our distributors, advertisers, and emerging technology start-ups,” Shull said.

“The Weather Channel operates as a distinct and separate business with its own leadership team, which enables this to be a smooth and seamless transition. We believe a bright future lies ahead for the television business as the most trusted source of weather information,” he said.

The digital assets being sold are valued at more than $2 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. What IBM wants is Weather’s forecasting group, which collects, manipulates and licenses weather data to companies like airlines and insurers.

IBM said it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI,, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand.

"The planned acquisition would bring together IBM’s powerful cognitive and analytics platform and The Weather Company’s dynamic cloud data platform, which powers the fourth most-used mobile app daily in the United States and handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services each day," IBM said. "The deal would extend the reach of IBM’s cloud data services capabilities and expand The Weather Company’s business capabilities and consumer reach on a global scale. The Weather Company’s cloud-based data platform will allow IBM to collect an even larger variety and higher velocity of global data sets, store them, analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform. "

While NBCU owns a piece of it, Weather Channel has struggled as a stand-alone cable network with limited leverage against distributors. The network was forced to alter an original programming strategy and stick to reporting the weather after a dispute with DirecTV last year.

Jon Lafayette

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.