CBS owned-and-operated station WJZ-TV in Baltimore
has launched the weather display system CinemaLive HD from AccuWeather, a move AccuWeather
hopes will help it break into larger markets and ink more deals with bigger
"Before we introduced this system, we had a few stations in
the top 25 markets but most of our clients were in [markets] 25 to 200," said AccuWeather
founder and president Dr. Joel N. Myers. "We see CinemaLive as a real game
changer that will allow us to enter those top 25 markets."
Additionally, CinemaLive has also launched on WJLA in Washington,
D.C., an Albritton Communications-owned ABC
affiliate, said Myers. "We recently got a commitment from the Journal Broadcast
Group as the exclusive provider of weather solutions," he added.
"We expect a number of additional group deals like that to come about in the
next few months."
Several factors set the product apart, according to Myers,
including its forecasting tools, ease of use, integration with Microsoft
Virtual Earth, high-quality graphics and its use of virtual sets.
"You wind up with the kind of network quality graphics and
presentation that local stations are usually not able to do," he said.
In a tough economic climate, the system also has some
significant cost advantages for stations going to HD for their weather. "One of
the questions we've gotten from stations is whether going to HD will require a
more expensive set," Myers said. "One of the great advantages of CinemaLive HD
is that it offers virtual set technology, which is really a savings because
some of these sets can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"Even if you are working with a relatively limited existing
green-screen area, you can deliver an image of a very large newsroom or
presentation without doing a lot of reworking of the physical sets," he said.
These features also dramatically improve quality and help eliminate
the traditional problem of the weather presenter getting in the way of the map
"Many of the people that are using CinemaLive now have the
presenter stand in a 360-degree 3-D environment," Myers said. "It is really
changing the way the weather is presented."
The system is also easily integrated into some of
their other products and allows stations to seamlessly repurpose content for
mobile and Internet offerings. "We are a major player with weather online and
on mobile, so there is a lot we can do to help stations with their three screen
strategies," Myers said.