Primedia To Launch Free Site For Surf Enthusiasts
In this day and age, publishers who rely solely on their print publications will not survive, reasoned Don Meek, president of PRIMEDIA's Action Sports Group, which also publishes Bike, Canoe & Kayak, Climbing, Powder, Skateboarder, and Snowboarder. "All I hear now from consumers and advertisers is the need for more integrated content," said Meek. "If all you're doing is offering print pages, you're no longer in the mix."
The live Webcam network consists of 15 digital cameras strategically positioned to cover the key surfing destinations around the United States including Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Oceanside, Swamis, Steamer Lane and Pipeline. Meek predicted the network would encompass 30 to 40 cameras within a year. Users can maneuver each camera's panoramic locator to determine whether it's worth making the trip and where the best surf will be when they get there. Using the site's "surveillance view feature" users can monitor up to four locales at once. Wind direction, speed and other surf variables are graphically integrated into the site to provide a more accurate picture of surf conditions.
The entirely ad supported WaveWatch will compete against several other sites that already offer like services, but for a premium. Surfline.com, which reportedly has Webcams set up at 100 spots around the world, is ad supported and charges a $9.95 per month and a $69.95 per year membership fee.
Meek's Action Sports Group plans to limit advertising on the WaveWatch site to four endemic and one non-endemic brand so as not to dilute each ad's impact for users. Surf gear manufacturers Oakley and Rip Curl have already signed on as charter partners, according to Meek, who added that Action Sports Group expects to announce additional sponsors shortly.
Viewing pages will have room for two ad slots, each of which will support any type of ad unit including streaming video ads. In the future, said Meek, the site will host 10- or 20- second streaming video ads within the digital camera frames.
Forecasts will be provided by meteorologists from each region, while graphic forecasting tools will leverage the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other geographical weather systems to visually project conditions to the beach level of detail. WaveWatch also will chart storms and hurricanes for the Atlantic and Pacific regions. Its "Storm Watch" tracker plans to give users a view of current and past hurricane paths and the ability to overlay a swell map to help illustrate how the hurricane/storm is impacting swell movement.
The site also offers a personalized "Magnet" feature, which allows users to customize and streamline up-to-the-minute information and keep WaveWatch's content streaming live on their desktop or on a personalized home page. The site will also support content featured on related online properties of Surfer, Surfing and SG, and include a library of surf travel related information plus message boards and photo-sharing tools.