Last Time We Looked Outside It Was Raining
Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief
Our fascination with the weather does not mean that digital signage networks have carte blanche to be lazy with content by simply putting live weather feeds on their screens.
Like the retail banks that seem to think their customers want to see exchange rate information and share prices on their in-branch screens (why would they?) it shows no / little thought has been given to consumer / shopper behaviour and how they (the people in the venue) react or interact with the environment where screens are deployed
In yet another Broadsign press release, this time announcing a deal with accuweather, BROADSIGN INTEGRATES WITH ACCUWEATHER.COM TO EXPAND CONTENT CHOICES FOR DIGITAL OUT-OF-HOME NETWORKS, Scott Homan, Meteorologist and Out-of-Home Media Director at AccuWeather.com was quoted as saying “we see this endeavour as part of our expanding digital network in which advertisers use our weather and news content to increase ad impact and ultimately their revenue.” .
Now whilst ‘feel-good’ and ‘look-away’ content and editorial is important to a network to give it a nice ambience we can’t quite see how weather information is going to help, apart from cluttering up the screens – do you see Clear Channel with weather forecasts on their billboards?
As we say above ‘last time we looked out the window it was raining’ and you know what, the same applies the last time the consumer walked into the venue – it was warm, sunny, raining, cloudy, windy and / or snowing and depending on how you were dressed and what you were carrying you probably knew that having just come from outside!!
August 6th, 2008 at 23:54 @038
As CEO of a company that was the first to partner with AccuWeather nearly 2 years to the day before BroadSign’s announcement (http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2006/8/emw421258.htm), and having incorporated geolocation into our management software so that weather feeds can be delivered automatically at the local level, I applaud BroadSign for recognizing that weather may in fact be something of interest to network owners. Whether it is newsworthy at this point is up to the reader. Certainly some people have a lower threshold for newsworthiness than others.
Adrian, you are correct in asserting that everyone is a meteorologist once they have stepped outdoors, and that it generally is not big news to learn that it is sunny and warm in August. However, it is also true that weather is fairly “sticky” content and has its place in certain venues. As a point of reference, perhaps Scott Homan can tell you how many people have accuweather.com as their home page. Weather is not going to be a featured element of the day-to-day playlist for most networks, but it DOES have value, and it is of interest to many viewers. It is a piece of the content puzzle that should be evaluated as part of developing a coherent content strategy. Like anything else, including a PR campaign, execution is something that follows strategy and evaluation, and separates leaders from followers.