Fox News hopes that round-the-clock weather coverage will brighten up the forecast – News Couple

Fox News hopes that round-the-clock weather coverage will brighten up the forecast

After Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News revolutionized the cable scene in the ’90s with its slick connoisseurs, it set its sights on another hot topic: the weather.

On Monday, Fox News will launch a new app to broadcast weather programming live, 24 hours a day.

As severe floods, devastating tornadoes, uncontrollable wildfires and snowstorms hit the US last year, an unlikely media battle is brewing as companies bet that climate-disaster programming will appeal to the masses.

The endeavor of Weather Lachlan Murdoch, the Fox CEO who invested $10 million in the payment, pits more squarely into competition with his brother James, who last year criticized his family’s news estate for promoting false suspicion about climate change as deadly wildfires raged across the globe. Australia. .

James and Catherine Murdoch recently put millions of dollars into funding for the Associated Press’s climate change coverage, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fox’s weather move comes as satellite news networks, including Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, have suffered a public dip this year as the news cycle subsides with Donald Trump out of office. Cable television is also under existential pressure, with more Americans canceling pay-TV packages each year in favor of streaming.

Fox News TV control room in New York © Zack Dezon / Bloomberg

With increasingly horrific weather growing, Weather Channel owner Byron Allen said American audiences have tapped into his network to get minute-by-minute updates during storms like Hurricane Ida.

“When you watch your car floating down the street in midtown Manhattan, you get to a point you can’t argue with,” said Allen, who bought The Weather Channel in 2018 for $300 million.

“Rupert Murdoch is one of the greatest media moguls of all time. I have read all about him and studied his every move,” Allen added. “I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t entered the world of weather news.”

Fox News has dedicated more than 120 meteorologists to its weather unit and invested in a shiny new studio at its Manhattan headquarters, where the roof will change with the weather, turning red during extreme events. The app, which is free and will make money from ads, provides users with 3D radar to zoom in on real-time snapshots of storms, along with a feature to track forecasts for future events such as a wedding or birthday.

Some observers question whether Fox News will face a credibility problem. Some of the network’s biggest stars have repeatedly questioned the seriousness of climate change. Presenter Tucker Carlson said last year that the threat of climate change is a liberal invention, like “systemic racism in the sky.” He claimed there was “no evidence” that rising global temperatures caused severe wildfires on the West Coast of the United States.

“We deliver the weather without noise or exaggeration,” said Jonathan Porter, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, a private forecaster. “We have seen many companies enter the weather field for decades and they have not succeeded. They require specialized infrastructure built on science.”

Brian Wieser, head of business intelligence at advertising agency GroupM, puts it more frankly. “Credibility will be a big issue,” he said. “Even if they take a line saying ‘both sides have a vote’, that is politicized. There is exactly one answer, from scientific consensus, about what weather is.”

Shari Berg, who leads Fox Weather, said the service would be “reporting the facts” and that climate change “will not be ignored”.

Fox’s weather streaming service is Lachlan Murdoch’s latest investment into a digital future. The former eldest son of Rupert Murdoch led the company’s $440 million acquisition of streaming service Tubi, as well as Fox News-branded streaming service Fox Nation.

When Fox Nation was first launched, the service focused on bread and butter news and opinion programs, with shows like personal computer. But in recent months, the company has sought to expand its reach toward general entertainment, with true crime shows and Clint Eastwood films.

“[Fox News] It is more than just a news brand. “It’s a lifestyle brand,” said Jason Clarman, who launched Fox News in the 1990s and is now president of Fox Nation. “The wider you apply, the greater the opportunity.” Analyst Moffett Nathanson estimates that Fox Nation has between 1 million and 1.2 million subscribers.

With Hollywood moving online, the best of dramas and comedies are now largely found on streaming services, not TV. But live news and sports still attract millions of TV viewers, generating billions of dollars for companies like Fox.

These groups are trying to prepare for the future while not dismantling their lucrative TV channels. “I don’t think the streaming of news can be on the financial scale like a cable bundle. They should stay on TV for as long as it’s there,” said Rich Greenfield, partner at LightShed, a media consultancy.

Klarman believes that “there will always be an audience for the news on TV.”

“What it will look like will evolve and change,” he said. “We’re looking around the corner.”

Additional Reports by James Fontanella Khan in New York

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