Local Now

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Local Now
Local Now logo.png
Local Now logo used since January 2016
Launched January 25, 2016; 20 months ago (2016-01-25)
Owned by The Weather Group, LLC
(consortium owned by NBCUniversal (Comcast), The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Slogan Places, People, Stuff
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia
Sister channel(s) The Weather Channel
Weatherscan
Website www.localnow.com
Streaming media
Local Now livestream localnow.com#/video
(U.S. Internet subscribers only; requires subscription to participating providers to access content; free access available through 30-day trial)
Sling TV Internet Protocol television
FuboTV Internet Protocol television

Local Now (stylized as "local now") is an American subscription television network that is owned by The Weather Group, LLC, a consortium owned by NBCUniversal and investment firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. A spinoff of The Weather Channel intended for subscribers of over-the-top multichannel video programming distributors, Local Now features news, weather, traffic, sports and business summaries on a continuous loop.

Unlike The Weather Channel but like its fellow sister service Weatherscan, Local Now does not feature on-air talent of any kind and does not carry advertising; in addition to its availability on Sling TV and FuboTV, Local Now's programming is streamed live on the network's website, and through apps for Apple, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices. The service operates from The Weather Channel's corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

The channel has only three staff members.

Overview[edit]

On September 9, 2015, in published reports regarding The Weather Channel's planned overhaul of its programming schedule that would refocus on forecast-based news shows and weather-related reality/documentary programs as well as pending layoffs of around 50 of TWC's 1,400 employees, sources within The Weather Company (then the corporate parent of The Weather Channel) revealed that the consortium would launch a localized weather, news and traffic service intended for over-the-top streaming services offering tiered "skinny bundles" of cable-originated television channels.[1][2]

The service, which was named Local Now, would maintain a format similar to that of Weatherscan, a digital cable and satellite network featuring localized weather forecasts and traffic reports, which original TWC parent Landmark Communications launched in 1999. Developed as part of its plan to place emphasis on its internet and mobile properties, The Weather Company intended to distribute Local Now to OTT providers in lieu of or in conjunction with The Weather Channel.[3][4]

In preparation for the service's launch, The Weather Channel reached agreements with various information service providers to offer content for Local Now to supplement its in-house weather data and video content. Initial partners included the Associated Press, which provides headlines and video for its news segments; Sportradar, a sports information agency which provides sports scores and schedules for its local news and sports segment; INRIX, which provides real-time incident data sourced from intelligent transportation systems; and TrafficLand, a traffic video integration service that provides footage from cameras maintained by state departments of transportation.[5] The Weather Channel collaborated with Arris Global Services to provide technological management services for Local Now, handling design and integration, test validation, deployment, customized HTML software development and managed services. Local Now utilizes integration of the company's transcoders and Anevia's ViaMotion+ packaging software, and was the first service to implement CPE virtualization technology from ActiveVideo (a cloud video provider operated as joint venture of ARRIS and Charter Communications).[6][7]

Local Now launched on January 25, 2016, initially exclusive to subscribers of Sling TV that, at minimum, receive its base "Best of Live TV" tier, with support for Amazon Fire TV, Android devices (including Android TV), and Google Chromecast. The service was designed with younger news consumers in mind, allowing a viewer to get constantly updated information on the top news stories, and local weather and traffic conditions in a condensed format at any time of the day, as noted by Freddy Flaxman, chief operating officer of The Weather Group (which became The Weather Channel's corporate parent after IBM purchased The Weather Company's digital assets in January 2016), this allows Local Now to better compete in a media landscape where consumers are increasingly consuming local news content via the Internet and smartphone apps, instead of waiting to watch long-form newscasts that air between one and five times per day on most major network affiliates and some independent stations.[8][9][10]

On March 4, 2016, Local Now launched a channel on Roku, which provides live streams of the service's national and local feeds to OTT subscribers who use Roku's digital media players.[11][12][13] On May 13, 2016, The Weather Channel announced that it would unveil standalone Local Now mobile apps for Apple and Android devices, which would extend access to the channel to cable and satellite subscribers who receive TWC,[14][15] the apps, which were made available on the Apple App Store and Google Play on June 8, provide live streams of Local Now's 226 local feeds and The Weather Channel, accessible by entering an authenticated login from a participating conventional or over-the-top MVPD provider (those who do not subscribe to a participating provider can view the Local Now feeds via a 30-day free trial, in which users must enter their email address in the login dialog to send a linked message to their account which grants them access).[16][17][18][19][20][21]

On December 14, 2016, The Weather Group announced a multi-year distribution agreement with fuboTV, in which Local Now and The Weather Channel would be included as part of an expanded service set to launch in early 2017, designed to compete with Sling TV and other OTT competitors such as PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, that would offer 70+ broadcast and cable networks.[22][23][24]

On February 28, 2017, as part of Google's unveiling of YouTube TV, the company announced – through a carriage agreement with NBCUniversal – that Local Now and The Weather Channel would be among the channels included as part of the over-the-top MVPD service's initial lineup when it launches in select major U.S. cities that spring.[25][26] On March 27, 2017, The Weather Channel signed an agreement with OTT financial news channel Cheddar to provide daily business news updates for Local Now.[27]

Distribution and market coverage[edit]

Although a spinoff of The Weather Channel, Local Now is formatted as a general news and weather channel, because of the distribution structure of over-the-top subscription television, Local Now utilizes a version of TWC's IntelliStar unit – installed at The Weather Channel's uplink site in Atlanta – that are configured differently from that used by The Weather Channel and Weatherscan, allowing for the recycling of segments featured in one news block seamlessly into another and routine updating of segments to each of the localized feeds. Local Now's automated model – which leverages The Weather Channel's existing infrastructure and technology, and employs only three staff members – allows Local Now to be offered at a fraction of the retransmission rates charged by local broadcast stations. Users of the Local Now website and mobile app, and subscribers of over-the-top MVPD providers carrying the channel, are able to access their local feed based on ZIP code, by their IP address via geolocation, or by manual selection, allowing subscribers to access a feed from another city when they travel outside of their home market.[8][9][10]

As of April 2017, Local Now programs 226 individual feeds covering 207 of the 210 U.S. media markets that provide local news, weather and traffic content tailored to those communities (the St. Joseph, Missouri, Presque Isle, Maine and Zanesville, Ohio are served by the Kansas City, Bangor and Columbus area feeds by default), with 15 of them operating as subfeeds offering hyperlocal content to individual regions of the New York City, Atlanta, Denver and Dallas markets.[27][11] Most markets are served by a single local feed, though Local Now plans to eventually launch additional subfeeds for most markets to "deliver a greater degree of [aggregated content of] local relevance" than can be incorporated within a local television newscast due to the market's geographical size and time constraints.[9]

Content[edit]

Local Now maintains a "wheel" schedule that cycles in randomized intervals (which are routinely updated throughout the hour), depending on the collective length of the included segments, starting at approximately the top of each hour, each block, featuring information sourced from The Weather Channel and six other content partners that vary depending on the segment, runs five to nine minutes in length and includes the following regular segments (listed in order of broadcast):

Segment Description
Weather Incorporating forecast data supplied by The Weather Channel and modeled after the parent network's "Local on the 8s" segments, is the lead one-minute segment detailing current weather conditions (consisting of a sidebar of conditions from the city's main observation site, accompanying a map of observations for cities within a 125-to-200-mile (201 to 322 km) radius), a three-hour regional radar loop, and 24-hour and seven-day forecasts for the metropolitan area. As with Local on the 8s, the segment incorporates the IntelliStar's Vocal Local narration function, which assembles pre-recorded narration tracks (which are voiced by longtime TWC meteorologist Jim Cantore) for the current temperature and sky conditions, descriptive forecasts and the introduction to the seven-day forecast product.

On April 6, 2017, the channel began offering separate current conditions and general local forecast segments, along with city-specific video forecasts outlining weather for the day ahead – consisting of weather conditions for the surrounding area and daypart-based hourly forecasts for the metropolitan area – presented by meteorologists from The Weather Channel, during the morning and late afternoon dayparts, this was followed on April 27, with the addition of the segment "Around the Area," featuring current conditions and daypart forecasts for four population centers within a radius between 50 and 75 miles (80 and 121 km) of the metropolitan area, in a text/icon layout similar in format to the "Latest Observations" product featured on Local on the 8s prior to April 2013.

An adapted version for the national feed – which maintains the same format as The Weather Channel's national satellite version of "Local on the 8s" – features regional composite satellite-radar loops for the Northeastern, Southeastern, South Central, North Central, Northwestern and Southwestern United States, and a roundup of TWC-sourced forecasts for 12 major cities within the corresponding regions.

Weather Alerts Airing only in the event that an alert is in effect, this segment overviews current watches, warnings and/or advisories issued by the local National Weather Service forecast office for the local area (with the exception of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings). Weather alerts – featuring detailed information sourced directly from NWS alert products – that have been issued for the local viewing area (including severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings) are also shown on a crawl that appears above the countdown progress bar, when active.
Weather Across America Introduced on April 6, 2017, this presenter-led segment features a summarical high-resolution computer model forecast for the Contiguous United States and individual regional forecasts for the day ahead;
Breaking Now Introduced on April 6, 2017, the segment – which features content repurposed from TWC and Weather.com – provides in-depth coverage and analysis of expected hazardous weather threats from The Weather Channel's meteorologists.
But Wait, There's More (And More) Introduced on April 13, 2017, the segment showcases special feature reports and caught-on-camera segments excerpted from the TWC forecast programs AMHQ: America's Morning Headquarters and Weather Center Live.
Local News A one-minute segment summarizing the top five major local news and sports headlines from the Associated Press. While shown in the form of textual graphics instead of being presented by a news anchor, a longer version of the segment (running up to two minutes in length) shown in select larger markets incorporates extended narration of the highlighted stories from a computer-generated voiceover as well as AP-supplied video and still photographs.
60 Now! A one-minute national and international news segment featuring video sourced by the Associated Press.
Travel Available in most markets, this segment (which runs between 45 seconds and one minute in length) features an outline map of highway and thoroughfare congestion throughout the area (denoted in order of severity as green for unobstructed flow, yellow for moderate congestion, and red for heavy congestion) that is usually accompanied by a sidebar of delayed imagery by traffic cameras from up to six area intersections (available only in the approximately 45 states where TrafficLand has access to DOT camera imagery); a randomized summary of current average speeds for three local inbound and outbound routes, active accidents and road closures; and in some areas, average delay times for flights arriving and departing from local airports.

During the peak morning and late-afternoon/evening drive times, the segment's congestion maps are accompanied on feeds serving many large and mid-sized metropolitan areas by an on-staff announcer – either from the Total Traffic & Weather Network or a local radio station partner – providing updated traffic conditions.

Tasty Stuff Introduced on April 6, 2017, this segment features a list of the top ten restaurant picks for breakfast, lunch and dinner within the metropolitan area, as ranked by Foursquare City Guide.
Mind Your Own Business Introduced on May 16, 2017, it is a one-minute business news segment featuring national financial headlines provided by a Cheddar staff member.
60 Show Biz! Introduced on June 2, 2017, a one-minute showbiz news segment featuring video sourced by the Associated Press.
Sports Usually airing as the closing segment of each flavor, leading into weather segment, it is a one-minute feature summarizing the five sports headlines of regional interest from the Associated Press, followed by a "rundown" list of real-time sports scores and schedules (organized by league and accompanied by the logos of each team) compiled by Sportradar.

Through a content partnership with Local Now, on April 26, 2017, the segment also began to feature video clips of sports highlights and expert analysis from 120 Sports pertaining to local and nearby major league sports teams, preceding the text-based sports news summaries.

In addition to supplying forecast data and other featured content, The Weather Channel also provides simulcasts of its live, wall-to-wall coverage in the event that a severe weather event, winter storm or landfalling tropical system affects the United States; unlike TWC, which carries the Local on the 8s segments during storm coverage, Local Now suspends all regularly featured segments – including local forecasts – during the TWC simulcasts, with time allocated to commercial breaks on TWC filled by a slide denoting that the simulcast will return following the break.

The channel originally featured a lower display line (LDL) similar to that seen on TWC at the bottom one-tenth of the screen, to display continuous weather information and inform viewers of current and forthcoming segments in tab form (the tab highlighting the segment being aired at the time cycled between the segment's title and a countdown clock), the national feed's LDL showed current conditions (denoting the sky condition, and cycling through the temperature, wind data and if applicable, apparent temperature) and daypart forecasts for 20 major U.S. cities, and the current time in all four time zones in the Contiguous U.S. The localized versions – which were keyed over the national LDL – cycled through current conditions and forecasts for cities within proximity of the metropolitan area, with the time bar corresponding to the local time zone, as part of a graphical overhaul on February 20, 2017, the LDL was replaced by a progress bar counting down the runtime of the current segment, which had previously appeared atop the LDL.

Slogans[edit]

  • Before 20/2/2017: Just the facts please
  • After 20/2/2017: Places, People, Stuff

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brian Stelter (September 9, 2015). "Sam Champion loses show in major Weather Channel shakeup". CNN Money. Time Warner. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  2. ^ Rodney Ho (September 9, 2015). "Weather Channel’s Sam Champion moving to primetime; Stephanie Abrams joining AMHQ". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ Brian Steinberg (September 9, 2015). "Weather Channel Cuts Shows, Personnel, In Stormy Operating Climate". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  4. ^ Stephen Battaglio (September 9, 2015). "Weather Channel cuts shows and staff amid uncertain future". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Weather Channel Selects TrafficLand For Local Now". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. March 28, 2016. 
  6. ^ Jeff Baumgartner (March 16, 2016). "Sling TV Tunes in Some Arris Tech". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  7. ^ "ARRIS Collaborated with The Weather Channel to Power "Local Now" OTT Streaming Service" (Press release). Arris International plc. April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2017 – via PR Newswire. 
  8. ^ a b Sahil Patel (June 8, 2016). "The Weather Channel bets on streaming local news". Digiday. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c Freddy Flaxman (June 10, 2016). "Why Local Now Matters: Solving three problems with local TV news". Medium. A Medium Corporation. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Chris Ariens (January 29, 2016). "How The Weather Channel Is Now Delivering News, Sports and Traffic". TVNewser. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Jeff Baumgartner (March 4, 2016). "Sling TV Expands Reach of ‘Local Now’". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  12. ^ Andrew Burger (March 4, 2016). "Sling Local Now to Offer Hyper-Local Content on Roku Devices". Telecompetitor. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  13. ^ Phillip Swann (March 3, 2016). "Sling TV Introduces Local Now". TVPredictions. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  14. ^ Nathan Ingraham (May 13, 2016). "The Weather Channel's odd local news service is coming to iOS and Android". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  15. ^ Sumit Passary (May 14, 2016). "The Weather Channel To Launch Local Now To Android And iOS". Tech Times. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  16. ^ "The Weather Channel Announces First Network App Available on iOS and Android Mobile And Tablet Devices Beginning June 9". The Weather Group, LLC (Press release). June 9, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  17. ^ Cody Schultz (June 9, 2016). "The Weather Channel Launches Local Now, Debut Network App". Hidden Remote. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  18. ^ Jeff Baumgartner (June 9, 2016). "The Weather Channel Streams Out ‘Local Now’". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Weather Channel launches first mobile app". Cynopsis Media. June 10, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  20. ^ Malathi Nayak (May 13, 2016). "Weather Channel to launch app for its Local Now service: CEO". Reuters. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Weather Channel Launches New App That Utilizes Sportradar Data". Sportradar (Press release). January 13, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  22. ^ "The Weather Channel and Local Now Launching on fuboTV". The Weather Group, LLC (Press release). December 14, 2016. 
  23. ^ Todd Spangler (December 14, 2016). "FuboTV to Launch Sports-Focused Skinny Internet TV Bundle, Inks Pacts With Fox Networks, NBCU, A+E, Others". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  24. ^ "The Weather Channel and Local Now Launching on fuboTV". The Weather Group, LLC (Press release). December 14, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  25. ^ Meg James (February 28, 2017). "Google unveils YouTube TV, a Web television service that targets younger consumers". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  26. ^ Matt Pressberg (February 28, 2017). "5 Things To Know About YouTube TV, From its Reimagined Customer Service to the NFL". The Wrap. The Wrap Media Group, LLC. Retrieved April 1, 2017. 
  27. ^ a b "The Weather Channel’s Local Now Taps Cheddar For Business News Updates". The Weather Group, LLC (Press release). March 27, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 

External links[edit]