AccuWeather Charges Into Content Creation

John Dokes, recently promoted to Chief Content Officer and President of AccuWeather Network, is leading the company’s aggressive move into content creation. Dokes talked to Cynopsis about evolving audience behavior, digital tools – and all that jazz.

Cynopsis: What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now?
John Dokes: The biggest challenge for the industry is how quickly viewers are changing the way they engage with and consume content. The reality is, people have infinite options – from digital and social media content to OTT and skinny bundles. Distractions are ever-present. It’s on us to develop powerful programming that’s not just accurate and personalized, but also includes dramatic footage and engaging content that keeps viewers wanting more. AccuWeather has done a great job of that on a variety of platforms, developing a passionate audience of nearly 2 billion people. We are committed to building trust with the customer and earning that trust every day.

Cynopsis: How has AccuWeather pivoted to adapt to the evolving landscape?
Dokes: We have worked to better understand how viewers consume information generally – and then develop tools and content to meet them where they are. For instance, people don’t just check Twitter or Instagram in the morning; they check it hundreds of times a day. The demand for instant, constantly-refreshed information is tailor-made for AccuWeather. We have invested in our data and digital tools for years now and have developed content that is hyper-local, sharable, and immediate. What’s fascinating is that our coverage truly has a fly-wheel effect – with network programming driving subscribers to download the app while local stories on social media drive viewership on the network.

Cynopsis: What do you do when you’re not working?
Dokes: My wife and family allow me to spend a bit of my time recording and performing as a Jazz vocalist. My next album release TRUE LOVE arrives on all platforms May 3. I also write songs when I’m inspired, poetry when I’m angry and stories when the real characters in my life get way too interesting.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at Lynn@Cynopsis.com.

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