Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Twitter to launch local weather news service

Twitter is partnering with veteran climate journalist and meteorologist Eric Holthaus to launch a local weather news service on the platform called "Tomorrow" that will be built using all of Twitter's new creator products — from paid newsletters to ticketed live audio rooms and more.

Why it matters: "It's the largest collective of writers and experts we've launched with," Twitter's VP of product Mike Park tells Axios.


Details: "Tomorrow" launches Tuesday across 16 cities in North America with the participation of 18 local meteorologists who will create free content and content for members.

  • Holthaus, who's written about climate for many years via publications such as The Grist, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate, is the only full-time employee for now. He plans to bring on roughly 20-30 climate writers and 4 part-time editorial staffers in addition to the 18 professional local meteorologists.
  • The team will produce newsletters and exclusive long-form content on Twitter via the company's newly-acquired newsletter platform Revue, as well as membership-specific short-form content for users, such as ticketed live audio sessions via Twitter "Spaces" and audience Q&A services.

The Q&A services will be unique to this model. Members can ask unlimited questions during breaking news weather events to meteorologists and climate experts, essentially scaling a function that Holthaus says has become second-nature for climate and weather experts on Twitter anyway.

  • For now, Holthaus says they will solicit questions via email, but in the future, he imagines they will be submitted via a password-protected part of the Revue website, which is still in development.
  • "You can imagine paying subscribers getting even closer to experts, using features like Spaces to ask questions before a hurricane or other severe events," Park says.

Be smart: Twitter has long been the go-to platform for breaking news events, but weather events have become especially endemic to conversations on Twitter, given that the news changes so rapidly by the minute.

  • "[W]eather is a perfect match for Twitter – some of the largest spikes in conversations on Twitter are tied to severe events like hurricanes, floods and fires," says Park.
  • "During Hurricane Sandy, my Twitter following went from 5,000 to 150,00 in a week," Holthaus notes, "I was just interpreting weather information through plain language and meeting people where they needed me at that moment."
  • Holthaus says he is often flooded with DM's (Twitter direct messages) from desperate people all over the world looking for answers about evacuation and emergency plans during catastrophes. "People say you literally saved our life, when there wasn't clear information reaching them from federal authorities."

By the numbers: Memberships will start out at $10 monthly. Holthaus, who is bootstrapping the operation for now, says he hopes to be revenue positive by the end of the first week.

  • "The goal is to be in most of 50 major media markets in North America by the end of this year," he says.
  • In 2022, he wants to expand internationally to places where Twitter usage is high, but there aren't as sophisticated of weather services, like India and Brazil.

The big picture: For Twitter, "Tomorrow" represents the manifestation of a new creative vision and business model.

  • Earlier this year, Twitter said it wanted to double down on subscription revenues via tools that help bring experts or influential people and fans together. Last week, Revue announced that it's testing new promotional tools inside newsletters for writers that want to band together.

What's next: Twitter wants to invest more in writer "collectives," especially at the local level.

  • "Outside of individuals sharing news and knowledge, we believe a collective approach is a super interesting model. Low overhead with an audience-funded model is a solid recipe for success," Park says.
  • In the future, Park says he hopes to build more journalism collectives across every topic. "We want to make writing online fun again, and that means making it easy to form a band," he says.
  • He also notes that the company will soon get to a place where video monetization is one among several revenue models on Twitter.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories