Multi-Screen Delivery

Ask a broadcast meteorologist about hot “multi-screen” trends and they’ll probably shrug and tell you that they have been doing it for years. That’s because weather has always been in the vanguard that helps prove the viability of new screens. If consumer electronics vendors create a new viewing device, you can be sure that we’ve been delivering forecasts and alerts from the time it hits the market. TV, PCs, and PDAs (remember those?) or more recently tablets, smartphones, and connected TVs—they all got their content streams started with weather.

Of course, that shrug doesn’t only reflect our hipster, meteorologist coolness toward new technology. We also have come to learn that “more screens” usually means “more work.” While supporting new platforms is inevitable for your TV station-cum-multi-screen media company, it is unlikely that you are being given more resources with which to serve them.

So why should you be excited about today’s multi-screen conversation? Because it is full of opportunity.

As succeeding waves of multi-screen excitement break, media company executives find themselves scratching their heads and wondering “where is the money?”

Tell them it is in the weather.

Your forecasts and alerts are a perfect medium for monetization. Branded weather products can smooth the transition by providing high-value, ready content for these new distribution channels. And unlike seasonal sports, TV clips and cute pet videos, the weather has day-in, day-out, unflagging persistence and relevance for your audience. Consumers are looking to other screens for information that impacts their daily lives. And when weather turns dangerous, the TV may not be the first place they look. Alerting across multiple platforms is the way weather consumers expect to find out about severe weather. The trust consumers put into one screen directly impacts reliance on your others and therefore your company’s ability to grown in the future.

As for the perceived increased workload in a multi-screen world? Make your weather systems do more for you. It is vital to eliminate duplicate, discrete processes in the forecast creation and publication process. Extra steps are opportunities for error. There is more than efficiency at stake—viewers will see any inconsistency in your output and penalize you for it. A properly implemented weather solution is a central hub that enables you to build your forecast once and then automatically format and distribute it to any screen, whether it’s a web site, mobile device, or broadcast graphic.

Making multi-screen into more than a costly experiment is a serious challenge for media companies. So, go ahead and shrug your shoulders, but, make it a knowing shrug and show them that weather means multi-screen business.

Can insurers control the weather?

2011 was a shocking year for insurers. Consider the following from the Insurance Information Institute:

Insured catastrophe losses in the United States totaled $35.9 billion in 2011, well above the 2000 to 2010 average of $23.8 billion (in 2011 dollars) according to figures from Munich Re. Thunderstorms, including tornado events, were the costliest type of natural disaster in 2011, based on insured losses. Insured losses from thunderstorms/tornadoes at over $25 billion, were more than double the previous record. It was also the deadliest thunderstorm season in over 75 years, with 552 direct fatalities. (http://www.iii.org/facts_statistics/catastrophes-us.html)

Science fiction aside, what can insurers do about the weather?

Reacting to weather is nothing new for insurance companies and, perhaps, that is part of the problem. That is why we are working with insurers to implement a change of perspective—a more proactive approach that puts the insurer in control of their weather peril risk. Technology and tools exist that enable insurers to be ahead of the storms, so while we can’t change the weather, we can predict it and act on that data.

Our media company clients have been sending alerts to audiences for years showing specifically that “a thunderstorm will reach the street where your house is in 11 minutes.” Broadcasters zoom in to individual city blocks to pinpoint weather events and impacts.

We can take that level of detail, combine it with knowledge of the location of policy holders, and create information tools that are predictive, actionable, and that can impact an insurer’s loss ratios and brand image. For example:

  1. Mitigate claims risk – using relevant forecast tools and severe weather alert systems along with multiple paths of instant communication including SMS, mobile apps, web sites, etc. makes it possible for insurers to spur policy holders to action.  Pulling cars into garages, locking down construction equipment, and more could all help reduce the number and severity of claims.
  2. Enhance relationships with policy holders—when an insurer proactively helps a policy holder, the consumer is likely to feel they are getting more value for their dollar. It is good to know one is covered for loss. It is even better to avoid the pain and inconvenience of loss in the first place.
  3. Fraud protection—a bad situation is made worse when people try to take advantage of weather damage. Weather prediction and analysis means insurers can get assessment teams on the ground more quickly, reducing the window of opportunity for fraud.

There is clear evidence that 2012 is shaping up to be full of costly weather events. We may not yet have the power to change the weather, but smart insurers can take action to eliminate some of the surprise and unnecessary cost associated with severe weather.  If you want to take a first step, consider joining us for a webinar on February 29. Our meteorologists will share their outlook for the 2012 storm season and we’ll take a look at some of the technologies and techniques that can help you prepare for and manage risk.