The business of weather
by Michael J. Pallerino
August 05, 2013 12:00 AM | 1177 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Walters, COO of the Cobb-based The Weather Company which owns The Weather Channel and a portfolio of other brands that includes weather.com, Weather Underground, Intellicast.com, Weather Services International (WSI) and Weather Central. (Staff/Jennifer Carter)
Chris Walters, COO of the Cobb-based The Weather Company which owns The Weather Channel and a portfolio of other brands that includes weather.com, Weather Underground, Intellicast.com, Weather Services International (WSI) and Weather Central. (Staff/Jennifer Carter)
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CUMBERLAND - During a career day presentation for his daughter's second-grade class, Chris Walters asked students if they knew how many people were impacted by weather on a daily basis. Of the first four or five initial responses, it was the sixth that provided Walters with the impact he was looking for.

"Everybody in the world," the student responded.

In a time when hurricanes, epic tornadoes, exhaustive rain, extreme heat waves and blinding snowstorms continue to dominate the nation's headlines, weather is the news story that everybody is craving, even 7-years-olds.

Nobody sees that more than Walters, COO of The Weather Company, which makes its worldwide headquarters in Cobb. Walters, who oversees TWC's technology, finance, legal and human resources teams, has had a front row seat to some of the most interesting worldwide weather patterns on record - climate changes that have made the business of weather more relevant than ever.

"Because the weather has been so sensitive lately, people have been checking in every day on the many platforms we offer," Walters says. "Over the past year, the business of weather has been very good. The increasing volatility (tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.) continues to make a huge impact on people and businesses all over the world."

This seemingly endless slate of extreme weather conditions has helped elevate people's dependence on The Weather Channel to new heights. In the end, Walters says the core of what drives the brand simply is providing weather forecasts that people can tap into for whatever needs they have.

"We're passionate about that," Walters says. "That passion is a combination of data, science and the best technology available. It's about amassing an extraoridinary amount of weather data observation from all over the world."

That information is available to businesses and consumers across a wide array of platforms, including television, an online presence, and the brand's heavily downloaded mobile and tablet app. To date, the app ranks No. 2 (iPad) and No. 7 (iPhone), according to Apple's list of all-time Top 25 most downloaded free and paid apps.

The Weather Company brand consists of The Weather Channel, weather.com, Weather Underground, Intellicast.com, Weather Services International (WSI) and Weather Central. Its television division includes The Weather Channel network, Weatherscan, a 24-hour all-local weather network, and TWC Radio Network.

The lion's share of maintaining these brands is done from its Cobb campus, where 700 employees support the many different resource platforms. The Weather Channel has a total of 1,200 employees working around the globe. And while it has offices around the world, TWC doesn't house "news bureaus" like AP or Reuters.

"I often get asked if we have any special airplanes or helicopters that drop our talent into those places where weather is extreme," Walters says. "The story is that they take commercial flights and get there before the weather is happening."

To continue to build upon on its ability to forecast the weather and disseminate the information to the world, the company is looking to bolster its team. Walters says TWC plans to hire 153 people during the second half of this year on the Cobb campus, including TV producers and behind- -the-scenes personnel, as well as throughout its data and technology areas, including IT, product development and digital engineering staff.

"There are plenty of opportunities for people who are interested in helping us tell our story," Walters says. "We've always been about the weather, and moving forward you're going to see us continue to work on the science of getting better at accuracy, as well as how we deliver content."

Did you know?

The Weather Channel has an unduplicated audience of 163 million unique visitors monthly across The Weather Channel TV and weather.com platforms, according to Frank N. Magid Associates, Q3 2012

Weather.com saw its No. 1 all-time day on Monday, Oct. 28, 2012, during Superstorm Sandy, with nearly 300 million page views

The Weather Channel reaches more than 50 million mobile consumers monthly through weather.com on mobile web and mobile applications, according to Omniture, Q2 2013

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