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The Weather Channel Sale Scenario I'd Really Like To See

Posted by: Jon Fine on January 3, 2008

Google buys it.


I speculated about this in a previous column. The thinking goes something like this: With the Weather Channel, Google would get a ton of traffic that they'd own outright. Google would be able to sell advertising around it without kicking a majority share of those revenues back to another company. It would get a form of media with low content-producing costs, that churns out data that everyone in the world wants, and that can be syndicated everywhere.

Also--duh!--Google is rich enough to pay the reported asking price with the change it scrapes out of a few couches in Mountain View.

Alternate buyers: Microsoft, Yahoo, or Time Warner's AOL, for the exact same ad-network reasons. If I have to pick one, I'd say Yahoo, because I'm betting new Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes believes he needs to make news with divestitures before he makes news with acquisitions. And I've already gone on a limb predicting Microsoft will wind down its media-owning and producing efforts.

But owning the Weather Channel makes sense for any of those guys--and makes much more sense than owning more traditional sources of "content," like a production company or a newspaper.

Reader Comments

The Shadow

January 3, 2008 3:28 PM

What about Gannett? They have the cash to pay for it and they could easily absorb all of Landmark assets (Newspapers, printing and television stations) without batting an eye. This could also help them become a more dominant player in the "content" arena as the dead-tree industry continues to diminish.


January 3, 2008 10:41 PM

Google purchasing The Weather Channel/ would make total sense. Having ownership of a major online publisher would allow them to innovate (first hand) from a Content Delivery and Ad managment standpoint, which I'm sure would change the industry. Along with a local cable channel that carries strong brand equity and viewer reach...the media industry would be at a standby to witness next steps.


January 4, 2008 12:07 AM

what about EW Scripps Company and Scripps Networks? Weather Channel could make a nice compliment to HGTV, Food Network and their other cable and internet offerings.


January 7, 2008 9:31 AM

The sale of The Weather Channel (TWC) will be the most dramatic event of 2008!
Both Google and TWC has a lot to gain buy merging into one entity; TWC has great audience reach and is one of the world most voluble advertising platform but they are very lame when it come to innovating their voluble data. I am sure that working with Google will be the best thing that the world of weather fans can expect to.
For Google its great move because purchasing TWC will give them (on top of massive audience) a market leader position on one of the world hottest issues – environmental ! where TWC dominate.
When everything is said and done, the most likely purchaser to TWC is News Corp. such a move will put them on a position to be as one of the top 2 internet properties in the sate and as No. mobile news property (this on top of the synergy it have with their other TV networks).
In News Corp will make such a move and if it will choose to have some other advertising platform it could very much mean the beginning of the end for Google …

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The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.



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