…and speaking of the environment, the long pursuit of the Weather Channel has ended, with NBC Universal and associated investors pulling together an estimated $3.5 billion deal to buy the network. That may seem like a lot of money for a channel you’re accustomed to watching for as long as it takes to get to Your Local Weather on the 8s, but it could just be money well spent.
For my money (and my money is considerably less than $3.5 billion), TWC is about as fascinating a story as a boring TV channel can be. It’s one of the great success stories of the early cable era, in which success meant basically being the first to take on-air ownership of a lucrative concept (e.g., MTV = music); and it adapted that success to the Internet by moving early with its weather.com site. Weather may seem dull in theory, but it’s the very definition of information that’s always in demand, and TWC owns a good chunk of it where cable TV is concerned.
More recently, the channel has done a better job of hanging on to viewers even when there’s no big weather news. And as Gawker pointed out in a joking-but-not-really-joking post, global climate trends indicate that weather news is only likely to get bigger. With half the world flooding and the other half burning to a crisp, the end-of-the-world business could be very, very good to NBC.