Weather widgets seek the local weather franchise

AccuWeather, a company that has been providing weather services to television stations for 40 years, has been slowly moving into a competitive position with stations by providing local information directly to consumers. This week, the company released a series of widgets for bloggers and other Website (or page) creators that will expand their reach exponentially. This includes MySpace pages. Here’s a reduced screen grab from the AccuWeather site:

Let me repeat myself: local stations need to get into the widget business — and especially in the weather space, because companies like AccuWeather and Weather.com are using this as a back door to steal the local weather franchise from local television stations. We’re so busy trying to “drive traffic” to our portals that we’re missing what’s really going on in the unbundled world.

In a Wall St. Journal article about the threat to cable by the internet, Comcast COO Steve Burke makes this remarkably insightful comment: “Whether the Internet is a friend or foe depends on what we do.” This is true for everybody in the Media 1.0 space. The web is a friend if you get in sync with it and explore the marvelous opportunities it presents. It is a powerful foe, however, if you cling to old business models or, worse yet, do nothing.

Comments

  1. I love this. The local weather people in my area are such fools. I went to three different local TV websites this morning to read weather forecasts and was barely able to find anything. I certainly did not get what I wanted — a simple percentage on the probability of rain. My question was simple. “Do I leave my windows open when I go to work, or not?” They made it so damned difficult that it reminded me why I avoid their websites, as a general rule. If I could get a widget that would let me skip their websites altogether (I already skip the obnoxiously overhyped TV broadcasts), I would be THRILLED.

  2. Pretty poor implementations. Weather channel has been doing this for years and many local TV sites already do this through simple HTML and JS. The key battle will be fought over sophisticated Web applications like those installed on the Mac OS, or Yahoo Widgets.

  3. @Holly — Thrilled? No problem. Try this 7 Day Forecast. Use the search to point it at your own city then save the bookmark. My personal favorite though is The Weather Pixie but you asked for a forecast, not current conditions.

  4. Awesome! Thanks, Hugh!

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