Debora Wilson's recent promotion to chief operating officer, a newly created position overseeing both The Weather Channel Networks and The Weather Channel Interactive, brings her full circle.
Wilson, who had been president and CEO of TWCi since 1999, had previously worked with The Weather Channel, joining in 1994 as head of business development. Over the next five years, she assumed responsibilities for programming, distribution and operations for the network, radio and newspaper syndication and its Web site.
She said both experiences give her a good framework for her new task at hand: building more synergies between the two business units.
"My job is to unlock more opportunities among our various platforms," said Wilson, who reports to Bill Burke, president and CEO of The Weather Channel Cos.
That means leveraging content and information for consumers and affiliates. On the most elemental level, she'll continue to emphasize cross-promotion between the network and weather.com. On-air talent, like hurricane expert Steve Lyons during his coverage of Hurricane Isabel, pointed viewers toward the Web site to drill down for more information. Similarly, the Web site — which in July ranked 12th on the Internet, with 20.1 million unique visitors — directed users back to on-air features.
With Weather a leader in providing text-message information to cell phones over the past nine years, Wilson said that over the past 18 months advances with the new digital devices, including enhanced graphics and camera-enabled images, have pushed the company "into the top five" sources for downloads.
Wilson also plans to devote much attention to building such burgeoning subscription services as Notify! By The Weather Channel, Desktop Weather Platinum and weather.com Gold.
While the company certainly won't turn down marketers interested in buying avails on either screen, Wilson is also charged with boosting integrated ad sales between the network and weather.com. She said the company has had some success with marketers underwriting such programming like Weather Quest and then encouraging viewers to participate in an online contest.