Weather Channel To DirecTV: Meet Our Cost Demands Or EVERYONE WILL DIE!

from the storming-out-of-your-contract dept

In previous stories where a television channel goes to war with DirecTV and its peers, the mantra by the channel requesting a higher contract is typically the same: our entertainment provides value beyond what we’re paid. That was the case when Viacom held its fans hostage in one such dispute, for instance, or when the far-more-sane AMC had a similar dispute. The point is that it always seems to come down to nothing more than money, where the dispute is over how much monetary value a channel has to a broadcaster. Nothing more, nothing less.

Not so, when it comes to the Weather Channel’s dispute with DirecTV. Sure, they similarly want more money, but their response campaign to DirecTV bristling at the request while offering a different, televised weather channel is, shall we say, slightly more melodramatic and massively more aggressive.

Usually when cable channels and distributors go to war over money, the two sides warn customers that a blackout will be inconvenient. This time, the Weather Channel is saying it’ll be downright dangerous. The channel has tried to rally the public’s support by reminding people that it is an emergency lifeline during severe weather.

“The Weather Channel isn’t just another TV network. It’s a must-have resource that keeps families safe,” proclaimed a headline on

Hmm, so the idea is that if DirecTV doesn’t meet the Weather Channel’s price demands, the weather monster is going to kill everyone? That’d be one hell of a provocative argument to make if it wasn’t made, you know, at the damned website from which everyone can also get that life-saving information. The argument not only pretends that DirecTV isn’t offering a different weather channel that would serve a similar function, or that there are various web-based methods for getting weather reports and alerts via computer and/or smartphone and mobile device, but it also ignores the Weather Channel’s own services.

This irony doesn’t appear to be lost on DirecTV.

DirecTV executives say that, contrary to the Weather Channel’s positioning, there are many other sources for urgent weather news these days, including WeatherNation.

“When information is readily available everywhere, it’s no longer necessary for people to have to pay a premium,” York said in a telephone interview. He also asserted that the Weather Channel devotes up to 40 percent of its programming schedule to “reality TV shows.”

I don’t know what the actual outcome of this dispute will be, but it would appear the emotional argument that everyone is going to die without the Weather Channel on DirecTV is one that should and will fall flat on its face. Good try, though, guys.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: directv, the weather channel

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Weather Channel To DirecTV: Meet Our Cost Demands Or EVERYONE WILL DIE!”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
blaktron (profile) says:

Funny enough, I seem to recall a similar conversation happening when people started abandoning local news broadcasts for The Weather Channel, saying that the weather information would be too general, or incorrect for their region and it would cause lots of issues.

Fact is, TWC is far less valuable a service than it was even pre-smartphone (let alone pre-internet).

Also, they should be VERY careful about saying how calamitous the result of them not being on air would be. If they are so critical to the survival of the nation they should be nationalized and turned into a utility. Good thing for their shareholders they really aren’t that important….

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Real Weather Business. (to John Fenderson, #8)

The NOAA weather is basically driven by airplane pilots. Weather is basic to them, in a way that it isn’t to anyone else, even farmers. Furthermore, the most demanding pilot-customers are the Air Force and Naval Aviation, because they are expected to be ready to fly, whenever, in whatever conditions. The airlines are not expected to launch in the middle of a thunderstorm. All the other weather forecasting is just incidental byproduct.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Real Weather Business. (to John Fenderson, #8)

That’s not actually true. I’ve worked closely with NOAA, and I can tell you that while weather forecasts for groups like airplane pilots are a very important aspect of what they do, there are a large number of equally important groups that NOAA serves (and not just with weather forecasts). Those other groups are not an incidental byproduct at all. They are actively, intentionally served, and are of equal importance to the nation.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Real Weather Business. (to John Fenderson, #8)

I find that weather satellite procurement, by itself accounts for nearly 40% of the NOAA budget, 1.8 billion dollars out of 5.1 billion dollars. When you add things like networks of short-range weather radars, systems for automatic reporting from weather stations, supercomputers to tie everything together, etc., you would be talking about considerably more than half the budget.

Something like fisheries research doesn’t involve this kind of heavy lifting.

Now, dealing with weather reports, I believe in allocating most of the the costs of a shared service to its most demanding users, on the theory that the least demanding users would be content with something less elaborate and expensive. To take an example, on winter mornings, the local public radio station (West Virginia Public Broadcasting) announces school closings on a county-by-county basis: the following county school systems are open; the following county school systems are operating on a two-hour delay; the following county school systems are closed. And this notice is only given an hour or so before the children would be departing for school. This is a workable system of course. The school system does not think it worthwhile to develop an elaborate plan in which each child’s schedule is adjusted in one-minute increments. According to these criteria the vast majority of the expense of the weather satellites has to be attributed to jet airplanes.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The Real Weather Business. (to John Fenderson, #8)

Something like fisheries research doesn’t involve this kind of heavy lifting.

You should check out the entire scope of what NOAA does. To dismiss it’s non-airplane-related weather forecasting as “fisheries research” is either just insulting or shows a deep lack of understanding.

In any case, even the “fisheries research” requires the same heavy lifting as the weather forecasting. It also uses supercomputers, satellites, etc.

NOAA’s expenditures on infrastructure are not because of airplane pilot’s need. They are because that’s the sort of infrastructure that you need to accomplish NOAA’s overall objectives, of which weather forecasting in general, and forecasting for airplanes in particular, are a small portion.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The Real Weather Business. (to John Fenderson, #8)

You are confusing the act of using a system, as a free rider, with the act of having it specially made for you. GPS, for example, was designed in the first instance so that the Strategic Air Command’s B-52 bombers could find their way over Russia, even though the local navigation radios had been turned off by the people on the ground, and drop “eggs” on Moscow. You know, “Dr. Strangelove” and all that. To the best of my knowledge and believe, neither the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, nor the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers were designed for fisheries reteach. They were designed for “power projection,” in other words, destroying stuff and killing people.

I can make a list of small countries, starting with Iceland, which really are economically dependent on their fisheries. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Iceland had its “cod war” with Britain, as it pioneered in claiming the two-hundred-mile territorial sea. However, Iceland is not noted for launching satellites.

In peacetime, as a matter of common prudence, you normally sit out the worst weather. In war, however, you attack behind a storm. Think of the Battle of Midway and the Ardennes Offensive.

Jessie (profile) says:

Who needs the weather channel on Direct TV to warn of dangerous weather. I have had Direct and Dish, and I’ve never experienced dangerous weather that did not completely kill the signal I was receiving, rendering it impossible to watch the weather channel. Perhaps their argument may work for land based television providers, but I don’t see it holding much over my head as far as satellite.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

bwa ha ha ha ha haaaaa
excellent point…

we’ve thought we should backcharge dish network for all our outages… i’m sure that would work like a charm…

was talking to SWMBO about looking into dish’s satellite inertnet services, but she says ‘satellite teevee goes out during rain storms -which hardly ever happens in florida- so why do i want my inertnet data to be dropped like that ?’
end of discussion…

Anonymous Coward says:

TWC has been super off base this winter anyways. The forecast says it’ll be dry all day, 0% precipitation the whole way down the Hourly forecast, and then suddenly at noon we get seven inches of snow in blizzardesque conditions that last until two in the morning? That’s less than helpful.

And hey, while I’m bitching about The Weather Channel – holy shit their site GUI is TERRIBLE. Go to their website and search for a ZIP to bring up the location – okay, are you set? Now look at the left bar listing all the forecasts. The primary element, the one at the top of the bar that is both easiest to see and click, is a link to see yesterday’s weather.

Do you know when I care about yesterday’s weather? TWO DAYS AGO. It serves no purpose to have it on the list at all, let alone at the very top. Amateur hour here guys.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Do you know when I care about yesterday’s weather? TWO DAYS AGO. It serves no purpose to have it on the list at all, let alone at the very top. Amateur hour here guys.

I am actually part of an amateur weather group and run a personal weather station and our websites are far better than anything you get from TWC. Even the places we upload our data to (wunderground/wxsim/weather4you) are better.

For most folks, they only care about what the weather will be over the next couple days (if they care at all.) For me, I care about weather yesterday and two days ago, specifically the barometric pressure and wind directions, and maybe even high/low temps, but I am certainly not going to go to TWC for it. NOAA/NWS keeps these readings for all major airports (ASOS), and you can get most of the data for your area from MESO/CWOP as well (which come from both ASOS and amateur weather stations.) With this information, you can determine what the future weather will be like, though with the advent of satellite, determining the future weather is far easier with modern technology than watching a barometer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The weather channel's pomposity is hilarious

Speaking of pomposity…

I stopped getting TWC when I canceled cable TV early last year. Then, I stopped using their website when they decided, unilaterally, and against the better informed judgement of pretty much every other weather authority everywhere (including NWS/NOAA), to start naming every winter storm.

Each of the past two winters they’ve announced they were going to do this, on their own site, and the comments and response that follows has been scathing criticism.

I’m sure it’s marketing execs driving this as it doesn’t help advance weather science. That type of arrogance doesn’t deserve to be rewarded.

aldestrawk says:

EAS, Tornadoes in California

Isn’t warning the populace about dangerous weather one of the main reasons for the Emergency Alert System (EAS). As far as I know TWC isn’t part of that system except as yet another media outlet.

An aside: My six year old son watches cartoons on Youtube and on 2 occasions I have overheard the emergency alert system go off, warning about potential tornadoes in the local area. Obviously, the cartoon had been recorded off a TV in the heartland of the U.S. which is alternatively known as Tornado Alley. So, whoever posted the Youtube video didn’t care that it was interrupted by a severe weather warning. They still posted it to Youtube. Amazing! Now my son, who will never witness a tornado unless he moves away from the area, has experienced an emergency alert for one.

Matthew S (profile) says:


WeatherNation started life as a replacement for The Weather Channel back when they pulled this stunt on Dish Network. Luckily, they stuck around and I actually LIKE the channel BECAUSE THEY REPORT THE WEATHER.

As the story points out, The Weather Channel has turned into another Reality TV Network showing some Honey Boo Boo Storm Chaser Dynasty crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Long time ago I used to have TWC. It was proud at the time that it carried no commercials. Then came the day it did. Then came the day that it carried just as many as any other commercial station.

I no longer pay for tv. I don’t want one due to the over commercialization. What I do have in it’s place is the internet and a home weather station. I can see the weather coming by the readings off the home weather station.

Anytime I need to know when severe weather is coming, that’s what the internet is for. I get readings that are timely, on target, and reflect what is actually happening in my neighborhood. I don’t have to see commercials to do so.

I care not for squabble between DirecTV and TWC. I am not going to pay either of them nor am I going to watch eithers programming.

I can guarantee that.

When it comes time for the sports programmers to do their little attempt at blackmail to raise fees, I won’t care about that either for the same reasons. PPV has priced itself out of a market and will soon find out just how badly it has done that, given the quarterly loss of subscribers it is sustaining yearly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Who in the hell still uses the weather channel? I’d say I need them if there was no such thing as the internet.

PC – Internet > Weather
Power outage > Android > Internet > Weather
Power outage + Lost Cell Phone > Borrow Neighbors Android > Internet > Weather

Sorry TWC you’re outdated, good run though, here’s a complimentary Android. “sarcastastic claps” GJ

Anonymous Coward says:

If if works for...

Seems like the Weather Channel’s rational went something like:

“Hey, if it works for so called “man-made” global warming “arguments”, it’ll work for us. Just tell the public the world will be destroyed if ______.”

With the 15,000+ hours of government indoctrination forcing a large portion of the populace to only think emotionally (rather than rationally/critically), such an argument unfortunately tends to work.

John Nemesh says:

It's not just the money here, folks...

DirecTV REPLACED Weather Channel with a real, honest-to-goodness 24/7 weather (small “W”) channel! The Weather Channel (TM) decided to mix in “reality” programming instead of doing what they were SUPPOSED to be doing, and guess what? Subscribers complained! It’s not SUPPOSED to be a channel people watch 24/7! It is SUPPOSED to be a channel that people can tune in at ANY TIME to check on what the weather is doing! Instead, you tune in and get a reality show? I can tune to 300 other channels to get that crap! I’m glad DTV made the switch, even though I am not a subscriber…maybe this will get it through the heads of the executives at ALL cable stations that when you drift too far from your niche and try to “reinvent” yourself, you are going to alienate the very viewers that made you successful in the first place!

Now, can we PLEASE get wrestling off of “SyFy” (and change the name back?)

AC720 (profile) says:

On virtually every website where TWC vs DirecTV has been opened for comments, TWC is getting cremated. I haven’t seen even one pro-TWC comment, and it’s not like people love DirecTV either. They just seem unanimous that reality sucks, the movies suck, the forecasting is mediocre at best and there are plenty of alternatives that either do it better or just plain do it faster, or both.

TWC needs to take a look at this and realize their brand is a disaster area all by itself, even worse than their trainwreck website. They have wrecked something people USED to care about. And maybe it’s too late to ever get back to those days where TWC mattered a lot, but if they don’t do something to fix their image and right now, they will have so little left, they will be able to run their entire operation out of a used FEMA trailer.

Maybe they need to start packing up on Circle 75 Parkway right now. It’s done. It’s all over but the shouting. DirecTV has dared to speak the word nobody would dare say, and that word is obsolete.

Dish, now it’s your turn. Pull the plug.

madasahatter (profile) says:


Recently the area were I live had severe weather. At least one of the local channels had continuous coverage of the weather for the entire period. At the height of the severe weather they did not break for commercials for at least 90 minutes. Once the severity began to subside did they follow other weather related stories such as blocked roads for at least another 90 minutes. After the weather subsided the went to regular programming. If I know severe weather is coming I know that the at least one local channel will continuously cover it. I will know if there are any tornadoes, intense thunderstorms, etc. and what they are doing.

I have no need for the Weather Channel for my local weather and I very rarely watch them.

out_of_the_blue says:

Well, I was bored enough to READ the source:

First, Timmy goes berserk over: ‘The Weather Channel is using a letter from meteorologist Jim Cantore, who warns viewers will lose “potentially life-saving information” in a blackout.”‘ — Is that not literally true?

“But in this case, Kenny said, the Weather Channel was only seeking an increase of one penny per customer per month.” — THOSE GREEDY BASTARDS!

While Timmy’s pick in this spat: ‘DirecTV, he said, wanted to “roll back our rates.” (The research firm SNL Kagan estimates that the channel currently costs distributors about 13 cents per customer per month.)” — Oh. So as usual, Timmy read first paragraph and went writing from imagination.

The world is being dumbed-down in ways most people are already too stupid to grasp.


Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

All Weather Channels in general..

Outdated, pointless existence. It also takes longer to get the forecast from those TV weather channels. They need to use up all that air-time rambling on about meaningless details so they’ll attract more sponsers. Soon after, they’ll start breaking for more ads. As well as paid programming on TWC as is stated in the article. They’re a waste of everyones time. DirectTV doesn’t need them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Useless information

Besides the emphasis of “reality”-based programming and “local on the 8’s” they have taken the Comcast and NBC approach of whining to Congress when their business model fails.

It is about the money – $2.6M/month from DirecTV alone — all about the $0.12 or $0.13/user per month.

I haven’t watched TWC for ~10 years and I don’t have to wait until X:X8 to get a forecast. My internet connection and/or a competing app on the smartphone gives me info – now…sans commercials or “reality” fluff

OPXYZ says:

My 70 year old parents don’t even watch TWC anymore, I can’t imagine anyone under 50 has tuned to that channel in a decade or so. Everyone understands you can get weather at your fingertips in a couple seconds with a smartphone or computer and not have to deal with reality shows. I had no idea they even did reality shows now until I started reading stories about them being dropped. Seriously TWC? It’s time to shutter your doors.

Anonymous Coward says:

Weather Hacking

They have already stated that they are hacking mother nature, so its not really clear to an average Joe if they are, in fact, involved with weather modification, HAARP, ionospheric modification experiments, cloud seeding, etc.. It sure seems like they get overly excited allover themselves when tumultuous storms hit some poor town. If they are part of the link to that effort, be afraid. Be very afraid.

John85851 (profile) says:

Oh, no, weathergeddonpocalypse!

The Weather Channel operates in basically two modes:
For most of the year, the weather is so calm that they have time in their schedule to run reality shows like “Storm Chasers” or “This week in weather history”.

Yet when a storm approaches, they get into panic mode and every storm is Snowpocalypse or Wintermageddon or or Super Terrible End of the World We’re All Gonna Die Rain Storm.

I can see why people get tired of these ups and downs. If I were a DirectTV customer, I’d vote for a calmer weather channel… or just check my phone where there’s no “weather anchor” in a rainy city telling me even more rain is coming.

Ken G says:

TWC follies

TWC has fallen into the trap of thinking the world and weather revolve around the northeast and eastern seaboard of the United States.
The result is stupidity like “Wake Up With Al” and news reporting by the lowest rated cable news network in the country. New York sucks, Al is a bozo what can anyone say about BSNBC? Fuhgetabouthem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Weather nation is just crap. It doesn’t even give us our local weather-only that of the largest city near us. Their maps are really not good. We travel a lot and would use the”my cities” feature to check the weather for our destination. We could also tell by looking at TWC’s maps if there were weather trouble spots in our path. We would have TWC on all morning, but we can not stand weather nation. I guess we will have to consider a change in providers if TWC is not returned to us.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...