Overcoming the Weather Channel’s local forecasts

Cory Bergman at Lost Remote references a story from Multichannel News outlining the Weather Channel’s plan to provide local web video forecasts for the top 25 markets beginning May 1st.

Everybody wins in the deal, but there is one huge loser: local television. That’s because the deal offers — to newspapers, radio stations and bloggers — the key franchise of any local TV News operation. It’s another chapter in the continuing saga of local broadcast media companies sitting on their asses while outside providers come in and snip away at market share.

It’s also terribly smart strategy on the part of the Weather Channel, because the forecasts will come with advertising. It’s a brilliant unbundled move, because others distribute the content. That includes, I’m assuming, local bloggers.

To counter this, stations need to create weather widgets that can display content — and even video — in the sidebars of blogs. Widgets are the killer app for local media companies in dealing with the personal media revolution in their neighborhoods, but I suspect most won’t offer them and the majority of those who do will clumsily present them as if they’re doing bloggers a favor.

As Gordon Borrell notes, “The deer now have guns.” What do you do when the deer have guns? You get into the ammunition business. Widgets are our ammunition.

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