The Weather Channel will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2022. The channel hit the airwaves on May 2, 1982. Although it might seem outmoded in the age of smartphone weather apps, The Weather Channel is still making a splash in its fourth decade, which is good news for owner Entertainment Studios.
For example, the channel won a News and Documentary Emmy Award last year for its Immersive Mixed Reality technology, which was on display in a 2018 segment in which a tornado appears to rip apart The Weather Channel’s studio.
The Harris Poll has named The Weather Channel as the TV News Brand of the Year for 11 years in a row—a streak that “can be attributed to the around-the-clock work our dedicated team puts in to provide viewers with unmatched live coverage and in-depth reporting to keep our country informed and safe,” as president Tom O’Brien said in a 2020 press release.
Ahead of The Weather Channel’s 40th birthday, here’s more information about the cable destination.
The Weather Channel’s ownership history includes NBCUniversal and Blackstone.
The Weather Channel was originally owned by Landmark Communications and was founded by the company’s then-chairman, Frank Batten Sr. “It was Landmark’s first national venture,” Batten once said of the channel, according to The New York Times. “The staff prevailed over a chorus from skeptics in the press and trade to build one of the most loyal consumer audiences in television.”
In 2008, NBCUniversal, The Blackstone Group, and Bain Capital joined forces to buy The Weather Channel for a reported $3.5 billion. At the time, the channel was pulling in an estimated annual revenue of $550 million and monthly unique website visitors around the about 37 million mark, according to the Associated Press.
Entertainment Studios bought the channel in 2018.
In 2018, Entertainment Studios acquired the Weather Group, The Weather Channel’s parent company, for a reported $300 million, according to Deadline. The news came after Sinclair Broadcast Group was reportedly in talks to purchase the channel for $100 million in 2016.
Founded by comedian Byron Allen in 1993, Entertainment Studios is one of the largest independent producers of first-run syndicated programming. It's also the owner of TV networks including Comedy.TV and Pets.TV and the distributor of films like Hostiles and 47 Meters Down.
“The Weather Channel is one of the most trusted and extremely important cable networks, with information vitally important to the safety and protection of our lives,” Allen said in a statement at the time. “The acquisition of The Weather Channel is strategic, as we begin our process of investing billions of dollars over the next five years to acquire some of the best media assets around the world.”
“We are excited to join Entertainment Studios, and we are especially proud to be part of one of the largest emerging global media companies,” added Dave Shull, The Weather Channel’s CEO at the time. “Byron Allen’s purchase of our innovative and forward-thinking organization will increase the value we bring to our viewers, distributors, and advertisers.”