The Weather Channel, which has served as an Atlanta-headquartered staple since its founding in 1980 by famous Chicago news and weather broadcaster, John Coleman, and media mogul, the late Frank Batten, is considering relocating their corporate headquarters.
The announcement, released in December of last year, is just the latest news regarding the “restructuring” of the company since its 2008-09 merger with NBC Universal, subsidiary of the re-branded Comcast Corporation. Senior Director for Corporate Communications, David Blumenthal, declined our request for an interview to speak further on the matter; however, he did pass along this statement regarding their recent announcement:
“We continue to be happy doing business at our weather headquarters in Cobb County. But given our future growth, to stay in our current location requires significant levels of investment. As we are contemplating the investments that are needed, we are in discussions with Cobb County and the Chamber of Commerce on how they can support our growth and investments, as they do many other businesses.”
Also, the two big investments we are looking at are newsroom and studio expansion and a parking structure, as our employee growth has created significant parking issues for our staff,” the statement continued.
However, the restructuring of The Weather Channel over the last five years has not come without costs. In an article dated October 16, 2012, Atlanta Television and Radio correspondent Rodney Ho of Access Atlanta, a joint online venture between WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper, stated that the company intended to cut 75 to 80 employees. That figure translates to roughly 7% of their 1,200 workers, 700 of which are based at the Atlanta headquarters.
In spite of these measures, however, The Weather Channel has actually adapted well in the age of mobile mass media and communications, its weather alert and forecasting application. According to the same article, “In March 2012, comScore reported that the Weather Channel reached a quarter of all smartphone users, or 24.1 million people, ranked 13th overall, just behind the game Angry Birds and ahead of ESPN. By August, Weather.com on the desktop reached 53 million users in August and 40 million on mobile web and apps.”
(It is this correspondent’s opinion that the recent moves by TWC, as well as its parent company, NBCUniversal, is simply an adaptation to changing preferences in how consumers receive their information. Moving away from the long established television and radio mediums and moving to desktop personal computer and smartphone/tablet applications is just the latest generational change in mass media consumption.)
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