“Digital and specialized business information products, not television, are two of the biggest drivers of growth for The Weather Company, parent of The Weather Channel. Today, b-to-b products represent 10 percent of revenue. In the next three years, that percentage will double, thanks to big data and the ability to integrate into customer workflows.” -The Weather Company COO, Chris Walters
The Weather Company was the most widely known name in the weather business. Founded in 1982 with its roots in cable TV, TWC is now facing the challenge of transitioning from traditional TV to digital.
TWC has two revenue streams. The first one was advertising revenue from consumer ads displayed along TWC’s weather data, no matter on TV, its website, or its mobile app. The second was the weather data and the expert analysis it marketed to corporate clients. For example, Home Depot and American Airlines incorporated weather data into their buying decisions so they could more accurately predict what products or services would be needed and where.
In order to shift to mobile, TWC’s Digital Division decided to utilize the company’s big data to acquire new customers and deepen the relationship with existing customers.
The running app market was highly competitive. TWC’s app, OutSider, aimed to provide both weather data and motivation to runners. “OutSider provided accurate and real-time weather forecast, allowing users to plan better-when to run, what to wear, and how to hydrate.” In addition, their competitors like Runtastic did not provide highly accurate detailed weather forecast like OutSider did.
The TWC case is a great example of a company’s renovation on leveraging big data. The success of TWC could be attributed to the company’s big data platform and processes. Another crucial reason was visionary leadership. The leader of the company was able to predict a future trend and pursue it to develop new market. In today’s world, we can all learn a lesson here from TWC’s vision and renovation.
Despite the good start, TWC was facing key challenges ahead. One of them being how would TWC be able to maintain its competitive advantage with its weather-centric running app. As well as location and weather, what other data could TWC incorporate into the OutSider app to make it the go-to running app and a source of premium advertising revenue? I believe that TWC’s strength over its competitors is professional weather data and weather forecasts, therefore as long as they leverage their unique service and concentrate on that they will be able to maintain leader in the industry.