Vox Weather, an interactive weather channel with a focus on viewer education, has gained significant organic traction in the regional social media sphere, with people from South Africa and a few neighbouring countries showing a renewed interest in the weather, and in learning about climate-related topics.
Launched by Vox in August, the weather channel, which is presented by renowned and much-loved meteorologist Annette Botha, uses social media to deliver informative, educational and credible weather analysis in order to drive a broader understanding of climate change and how it affects each and every one of us.
“Vox Weather has been well-received, showing strong organic growth, and there has been an overall positive sentiment and engagement from the public toward both the weather channel, as well as the Vox brand. This is especially noticeable in the smaller cities and towns around South Africa where the company has a visible presence,” says Jacques du Toit, CEO at Vox.
Between August and September, the total number of social media followers for Vox Weather grew by nearly 60%, while content reach increased by nearly 70% and views of YouTube videos nearly doubled. The majority of the weather channel’s fans are from South Africa, though there is a sizable minority following from people living in Namibia. To cater for this audience, region specific weather forecasts will be published to Facebook, with the content only visible to users from that country.
“We are looking to drive broader education and awareness around weather warnings by featuring content that takes a closer look at what constitutes weather warnings, what might be causing the extreme weather, and what it means for people living within the affected areas in terms of the impact that it will have. In the short time since its start, the channel has already expanded to include forecasts in Afrikaans, which have seen good reach and engagement from the audience.” says Du Toit.
Open Day for meteorology students
Vox Weather further held an open day with meteorology students from the University of Pretoria (UP) being invited to learn more about the channel and its goals, how it does things differently from other local weather channels, and to identify potential candidates for a meteorologist/climatologist internship position in 2022. The students were given the opportunity to present their ideas on how to reignite the public’s interest in the weather and climate, how specialised weather forecasts can be of value to multiple industries, and how they would improve Vox Weather.
“Annette makes the weather more personal and has some fun – she’s adding something more than just reading a forecast, and that attracts people. For a telecommunications company to start a weather channel shows us that there are more career possibilities for us to consider than what we initially believed. It is an amazing initiative as it gives us young scientists the opportunity to grow and do what we love,” says Michelle Fourie, currently doing her Honours in Meteorology at UP.
“What I enjoyed about the open day was coming to a place that was really innovative, and looking at new and different ways of presenting the weather to people. The more we talk about the weather in a language that they can understand, the easier it will be to get them to take a more active interest in the weather, and climate change. Vox Weather aligns with my future goals of making weather more relatable, and taking it from where it is now into the 21st century,” adds Nontsikelelo Maduna, currently doing her B.Sc at UP.
“In a lot of instances, ordinary South Africans feel they don’t fully understand the weather. We have to make the weather more personal and relevant to people’s lives in order to drive interest. The channel excites people as they want to be part of this journey of growth. What excites me is that we are willing to change, and try something different from what they have done all these years,” says Abigail, currently completing an internship at the South African Weather Service.