A windfall for The Weather Channel

Janet Babin Jan 3, 2008


Scott Jagow: When the Weather Channel went on the air in 1982, few people thought it would last. I mean, come on — weather, all day long?

Well, it’s still a must-have on cable. And today, the company that started the Weather Channel is expected to put it up for sale. Landmark Communications stands to make a fortune — a lot of big-time companies are said to be interested. NBC perhaps, possibly Comcast. More now from Janet Babin.

Janet Babin: Landmark’s sale was first reported in its flagship newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot. The family-owned company owns eight other dailies, and more than 100 community papers. But its crown jewel is the Atlanta-based Weather Channel, and its website, weather.com.

Porter Bibb with MediaTech Capital Partners tried to buy the Weather Channel back in the 90’s. The price he offered then was around $700 million, but the family turned him down. Now, Bibb thinks it’ll sell for more than $5 billion.

Porter Bibb: We all care about the weather, and none of us can do much about it, but it’s one of those utterly compelling subjects. And interestingly, weather.com is one of the top-rated sites on the Internet.

Advertisers like The Weather Channel because the programming’s not likely to be Tivo’d. That means people are more likely to sit through commercials.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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