The future of linear TV is non-linear

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A looming recession. Increased cord-cutting. And nothing but opportunity for broadcasters. 

Audiences are leaving linear platforms in droves. In fact, streaming usage actually surpassed cable for the first time ever in July.1 This trend will only increase as the looming recession causes users to replace cable subscriptions with cheaper streaming and OTT options.

And those options are growing rapidly. More and more, FAST channels like Roku are offering relevant local information to increasingly savvy consumers who are tired of getting nickel-and-dimed by cable monopolies.

But we must be doing something right. We have so much cash right now…

You probably do. The recent election season left broadcasters with lots of ad revenue. But now that the votes are in (well, mostly) that money could dry up quickly.

So what should you do with all that cash?

First, throw a stellar holiday party.  Your people deserve it.

After that, prepare for the great digital migration by investing in your OTT strategy. Doing so is more than pragmatic; it’s opportunistic.

Make money money, make money money money!

That’s the idea. The benefit of your audience moving off linear is that OTT can be far more lucrative.

CPM rates on OTT are much higher than broadcast. If you produce enough content – and get the content right – you’ll rake in the revenue.

Let’s do this! Wait, how do we do this?

The great news is that you’re uniquely positioned to capitalize on OTT.

Let’s start with your biggest competitive advantage. People can get news and weather from virtually anywhere. But local broadcasters offer unique regional knowledge and expertise along with trusted and recognized on-air talent that new competitors creating news stories can’t match.

Speaking of weather, it’s an effective bridge to carry your audience from linear to your OTT platform. That’s because weather is key to the audience’s viewing habits. 60% of these consumers say weather is a major reason to watch the newscast.1

The benefits don’t stop there. Weather is a great asset to proactively grab viewers’ attention, especially during severe conditions. Once they’re on your platform, you can direct them toward other news and incorporate additional weather content as a welcomed pause between stories.

Great! Our weather broadcast is already top notch.

I bet. But the content needs to match the platform and OTT is different than linear. When broadcasters transitioned from radio to TV, they couldn’t simply show meteorologists speaking behind a desk. They had to optimize the presentation for the new medium, even if that meant starting with chalkboards and giant printed maps.

Similarly, it isn’t enough to repost your TV broadcast on a digital platform. You need content that is formatted for OTT and takes advantage of the unique features of these platforms.

Start by going straight to the forecast without build up or teases to satisfy viewers who want a quick view of the weather. After the forecast, offer information your viewers can’t get from linear. For example, consider taking about 3 minutes to explain the science behind the weather or the impact of climate change then refer viewers to another video with more information.

Keep in mind that 61% of viewers prefer to have an actual meteorologist as part of their streaming service rather than an avatar.2 Incorporating trusted local talent into these videos will yield engaging and potentially evergreen content that viewers can’t get anywhere else.

This is also an opportunity to let your team speak on topics for which they may not normally have time on broadcast TV. This can include weather-related health news or ways to plan for outdoor weather. Or you might let them have some fun with space and science-based topics.

That sounds like a lot of content.

It is. And while your on-air talent will play a huge role, you won’t have enough staff to provide the “always available” accurate local weather content that audiences demand. To complement your personnel, you’ll need tools to generate a “weather wheel” from which OTT users can access their weather information whenever they need it.

The Weather Company provides solutions that accelerate the production of OTT content without straining your resources.


Max Cloud

  • Streamline workflows by improving collaboration across your group
  • Share graphics and expertise with stations in other locations
  • Enable stations to back each other up if one goes dark

Max Velocity

  • Tell more stories using a browser-based video production solution
  • Enable novice users to generate studio quality content from their laptops
  • Create and distribute video content from virtually anywhere with an internet connection

Max Engage with Watson

  • Automatically create and distribute important weather and traffic news
  • Contact only users who will be affected with relevant alerts and videos
  • Publish content across platforms with your station’s logo and banners

Weather’s the key to an effective FAST strategy

Absolutely. Weather is the main reason why people choose a local news station. It keeps the audience around longer and is always relevant.

Optimize your weather content as an integral part of your FAST strategy and you’re poised for success.

Learn more about The Weather Company, an IBM Business, on its website


The above content is sponsor-generated content from The Weather Company. To learn more about sponsor-generated content, click here.



2. Weather Promotion Study, Magid Research, June 2022