Whither the weather map?


There is a proliferation of weather apps on the iTunes store and Google Play. I found at least 500 iterations of the weather app on Google Play and not much less on iTunes.

These range from weather apps for specific countries and locations to specialised apps for surfers and such like.

Today, at the click of a button, you can check the weather anytime anywhere in the world. If I am travelling to London, I just have to check the app on my iPad or iPhone to know what clothes I need to bring or to gear up appropriately for the forthcoming Arsenal-Liverpool match at the Emirates Stadium.

Frankly, when was the last time you looked at the weather map in your newspaper?

Which brings me to the question: Whither the weather map?

Weather reports and maps have been around in newspapers for as long as I can remember. But I am wondering if they have passed their use-by date.

Undoubtedly, the idea of a full-page weather map first blossomed when USA Today appeared on the market in the early 80s with the first-ever full-colour map on its back page. And soon, before we knew it, every single newspaper started producing their own weather map – and at great expense.

It is almost de rigueur to have a weather map, even if many people no longer refer to it in a newspaper. I mean, why bother when you have it at your fingertips anywhere?

Smartphone penetration in the developed economies around the world is more than 50 per cent of the population, and in many cases, closer to the 90s.

So perhaps newspapers need to rethink the weather map. Perhaps a reduced one, but even so, you just cannot compete with the instantaneous availability of apps.

Could the space be used for other more useful purposes? An advertisement, perhaps? On the back page, that would command a princely sum and would be most welcome in today’s financial environment.

What are your views?

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