Responding to its viewer base, The Weather Channel has created an online store for branded products.
The store at http://store.weather.com covers a range of categories, from weather-related items such as umbrellas, thermometers and a wireless forecast projection station, to apparel for all seasons and a jazz CD.
“It’s a brand extension strategy,” said Shari Pace, Weather Channel vice president of licensing. “What we do affects your lifestyle. Our viewers are very interactive with our brand.”
And those viewers were clamoring for Weather Channel products, according to Pace, who claims the cable channel received 900 e-mails from people who wanted a recording of the smooth jazz it uses as an on-air background to its weather reports. So “The Weather Channel Presents Smooth Jazz” CD was created, and is now among the best-selling CDs in that genre.
The $13.98 musical release represents a category expansion for TWC, which plans to release a series of jazz CDs, according to Pace, with the next one slated for release next March. Next month, TWC will offer a 25-episode compilation of its “Storm Stories” series as a gift set for $29.98.
Most of the products in the online store are lifestyle-related, such as tailgating kits, stadium blankets and jackets or golfing gear, playing off the way weather affects viewers’ activity choices.
“The store is a natural extension for us to get a whole new base of users,” Pace said.
The Weather Channel currently draws an average of 30 million users to its site monthly. It will promote the store in five-second intros to its “Weather on the 8s” segment, and with a banner ad on its home page.
The store is also a natural extension to marketing the network was already doing with branded products in retail outlets over the past year, including Sears, JC Penney and Best Buy stores.