The Weather Channel’s apps for smartphones and tablets have been downloaded more than 100 million times, and The Weather Co.’s revenue from non-TV sources is now “not far away” from being half of total revenue, according to digital division president Cameron Clayton.
Privately held Weather Co. does not disclose financial figures. The company is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal and private-equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.
The company’s apps for devices including iOS, Android, Windows 8 and BlackBerry operating systems remain the most popular in the weather category and among the most popular free apps overall. The Weather Channel says it has approximately 38 million active monthly unique users for smartphones and another 6 million on tablets such as the iPad and Kindle Fire. Weather.com counts another 65 million unique monthly users on computers.
The 100-million-download mark is “a huge milestone and achievement for us, and puts us in elite company especially outside the games category,” Clayton said.
Last week, Apple announced that its iTunes App Store has delivered more than 40 billion app downloads to date, with almost 20 billion in 2012 alone.
The Weather Co. is “still growing like crazy” on the mobile side, Clayton added. “We will continue to have new mobile launches for Android and iPhone, and going global is a huge focus for us... We have haven’t seen the flattening out of the bell curve.”
Weather Channel apps are localized in more than 40 languages, and the company is expanding to a global footprint with weather information for more than 120 countries.
“A huge focus for us will be reimagining mobile advertising,” Clayton said, with investments in hyperlocal content and ads. The Weather Co.’s digital division has about 230 employees.
The company also will continue to add new features to make its digital properties more engaging and useful, Clayton said. For example, Weather.com last month enhanced the "My Friends' Weather" feature to let users see which of their Facebook friends are at risk for severe weather in their area and then communicate with them.
“It’s human nature to want to understand how the tribe is being impacted,” Clayton said.
In 2012, the company saw an increase in downloads during notable weather events, including a series of deadly tornado outbreaks, months of record heat, a historic drought, widespread wildfires, Hurricane Isaac in August and Superstorm Sandy in October.
The Weather Channel has been available on mobile phones since 1999. It launched iOS applications in 2007 and followed with Android smartphones apps in 2008. Last year, The Weather Channel redesigned its apps for iPhone and iPod touch, and introduced a version optimized for iOS 6 for the iPad in September.
The Weather Co.’s properties include The Weather Channel, Weather.com, Weather Underground, Weather Services International (WSI) and Intellicast.com. On the television side, the network is effectively fully distributed with a reach of 102 million pay TV U.S. households.