digibyte - IBM buys up Weather Company digital assets

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan October 28, 2015
IBM's buying up the digital arm of The Weather Channel to provide a new tool for Watson to play with.

Let's hope not

Following the announcement earlier in the week at the Insight conference that IBM has been using current and historical weather data from The Weather Company for its Insight Cloud, now Big Blue has confirmed rumors that it would buy up The Weather Channel’s digital assets.

Basically, that means everything other than the TV network, including weather.com, WSI and Weather Underground, as well as all of The Weather Company brands.

IBM sees enormous potential in the combined power of The Weather Company’s meteorological data and Watson. The Weather Company's mobile apps are the fourth-most popular in the US, processing 26 billion requests daily, with two-thirds of US consumers over 18 years old using a Weather Channel brand each month.

David Kenny, chief executive of The Weather Company, says:

We see the next wave of improved forecasting coming from the intersection of atmospheric science, computer science and analytics. Upon closing of this deal, the Weather Company will continue to be able to help improve the precision of weather forecasts and further deepen IBM’s Watson IoT capabilities.

For the TV Weather Channel, its future operating model will mean it has to license what used to be its own data from IBM. It had been looking for a buyer for the digital arm for some months after acknowledging “unprecedented challenges in the subscription television business”. This led to the axing of 50 employees and a shift in focus away from “non-weather” original programming.

My take

A deal with a sunny long-term forecast