Last week, on one of the final days of rehearsals before the launch of Fox Weather, the meteorologists working in the sleek new studio dubbed “America’s Weather Center” began tracking some thunderstorms with the potential to spawn tornadoes. The team went into breaking news mode, and Fox Weather president Sharri Berg liked what she saw. “It was like watching a well-rehearsed ballet,” Berg told me. “Everything worked.”

Berg, who helped launch the Fox News Channel, has hired more than 100 people—including 40 meteorologists, many from local television stations—for Fox Weather, a 24-hour streaming service that debuted Monday. “When we first looked at the different business models—is it a cable channel? Is it an app? It’s all of the above,” Berg said, pointing to the network’s Fox Weather app as the place where consumers will see the power of what she and her team have built. “We saw an opportunity to build an app that was useful, simple to use—and it’s got to be a little entertaining.”

In an internal memo to Fox News Media staff after Fox Weather made its debut Monday morning, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said “our team has worked incredibly hard over the last 10 months to launch the now third streaming service within the Fox News Media juggernaut of eight linear, digital and direct-to-consumer platforms…the entire team has worked meticulously to develop a fresh, innovative approach to forecasting…to super serve the loyal audience that we have cultivated over the last 25 years.”

The Fox Weather app for iPhone and Android features a first-of-its-kind immersive live 3D radar that’s exclusive to Fox. Looking at the radar on her phone, Berg demonstrated how a user can zoom in, spin around and explore their local weather. “It’s interactive and engaging, but also useful,” she said. Built on gaming software, the 3D radar feature will also be available on touch screens in the Fox Weather studio.

As co-hosts Jason Frazer and Britta Merwin welcomed viewers for the first time as Fox Weather officially debuted early Monday, it was clear the “America’s Weather Center” studio will be a key feature, with producers at work in the background and plenty of room for the meteorologists to move around. The studio, called Studio W, was once home to Shepard Smith and his over-the-top breaking news set that also had producers and writers at work alongside the anchor.

The product of extensive consumer research, Fox News Media has high hopes for the new Fox Weather brand, backing it with an investment of more than $10 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. Berg says Fox Weather will complement Fox News, the Fox owned-and-operated television stations, and Fox Sports. The network partnered with WeatherSTEM, a company that has 600 cameras in college and NFL stadiums across the country—an opportunity to provide live weather shots and forecasts for big games.

Fox Weather is available online, on the Fox Weather app, and on Fox NOW and the Fox News TV apps. The network is advertiser-supported and, beginning in January, will be available on digital over-the-air channels in cities where Fox owns television stations.

Source: Forbes
By: Mark Joyella