In a move it compared to Apple Computer’s shedding of the word computer, the Weather Channel Companies has dropped “channel” from its name.
It’s not ridding itself of the actual Weather Channel, a staple of cable lineups across the country. The channel’s name will remain the same. But the corporate re-branding reflects the fact that most of the Weather Company’s growth is coming from the Web and from specialized products for businesses, not from television. It senses huge opportunities in international markets where it will not have a television channel, but will have apps and Web sites.
“The word ‘channel’ is too limiting. The Weather Company better defines who we are,” said David Kenny, who was named the chairman and chief executive of the company in January.
The flagship Weather Channel, available in 100 million homes in the United States, still accounts for more than half of the Weather Company’s revenue, thanks in large part to the per-home fee it receives from cable and satellite distributors. But the channel business has been slowing significantly, Mr. Kenny said. Already the company’s advertising revenues are fairly evenly split between television and digital media. He expects digital media (including mobile devices, an area of focus) to overtake television in that category.
Last week, just before the new name was announced internally, the company laid off about 75 people, 7 percent of its work force. The layoffs were attributed to a reorganization, partly necessitated by the recent acquisitions. Additionally, Mr. Kenny said the television division wasn’t “altogether efficient” in its production, suggesting it was overstaffed.