Verizon Latest To Balk At Weather Channel Rate Hikes For 'Weather Coverage' That's 70% Fluff And Nonsense

from the tropical-storm-nitwit dept

Last year, we noted how The Weather Channel was starting to have a hard time getting cable operators to pay the kinds of carriage fee increases the channel is looking for. That’s of course in large part thanks to the fact that The Weather Channel increasingly focuses on fluff and nonsense (photos of the world’s sexiest beaches, anyone?) instead of oh, forecasting the weather. These struggles have only been compounded by the fact that these days, all manner of apps can quickly tell you the weather while The Weather Channel is busy talking about wacky buffalo with “ginormous” tongues.

When The Weather Channel demanded a steep carriage fee hike from DirecTV last year, the satellite TV company responded by laughing and offering its customers channels that actually delivered the weather for a change. After many customers stated the loss of The Weather Channel was an improvement, the channel buckled and settled for significantly less money.

Apparently, the company hasn’t learned its lesson quite yet. Verizon this week decided to pull The Weather Channel from its channel lineup after the channel demanded notably higher rates. In a note to subscribers, Verizon was quick to point out that, hey — it’s not like reconstituting reports from the National Weather Service is really all that difficult in the Internet age:

“Verizon?s agreements to carry The Weather Channel and Weather Scan have expired, and have not been renewed. In today?s environment, customers are increasingly accessing weather information not only from their TV but from a variety of online sources and apps. Verizon is therefore pleased to launch the new AccuWeather Network, which will be available on FiOS? TV on channel 119/619 (HD) and on our free FiOS Mobile App starting March 10, 2015.”

Like the DirecTV feud, most customers responded to the channel being pulled with either a shoulder shrug or declarations that they find the replacement apps and channels a marked improvement. Still, like it did with the DirecTV dispute, The Weather Channel quickly cobbled together a fake news story implying that pulling the channel is a safety hazard:

“Customers turned to social media and the Verizon website today, March 10, in support of The Weather Channel, which for more than 30 years, has been the most trusted resource for disseminating timely information to help prepare and protect families across the nation against weather-related emergencies.”

Apparently nobody at The Weather Channel has been getting the memos stating that their increasing failure to actually report the weather has made the channel a laughing stock. Cable companies are having a harder time pushing off programming rate hikes to consumers awash with alternative options (whether that’s a weather app or Netflix). As such, cable companies themselves are starting to push back harder at broadcasters like The Weather Channel (or post Colbert and Stewart Viacom) that demand higher programming fees for lower-quality product.

If you offer a smash hit product like “Breaking Bad” or “Mad Men,” you can often demand higher carriage rates. If your claim to fame instead is programs like “Prospectors” — or creating a nation of weather neurotics by naming every flimsy storm that comes down the pike — you’re going to have a harder time as the pay TV market begins to finally evolve.

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Companies: verizon

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Comments on “Verizon Latest To Balk At Weather Channel Rate Hikes For 'Weather Coverage' That's 70% Fluff And Nonsense”

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56 Comments
DB (profile) says:

A long time coming

I haven’t gotten cable programming for many years, but a decade ago the Weather Channel was starting to degrade. It was already showing at least 5 minutes of advertising for each ten minute reporting cycle. When it starting showing ‘features’ that displaced the 30 seconds of actual weather data per cycle, I gave up on it.

Since then I’ve seen it only while traveling, and quickly switched away after figuring out that it has gotten worse.

On the other hand I’ve been using the Weather Underground since it was a telnet service at UMich. It’s always been good to great. I was annoyed when they changed to their new format with bad icons, slow loading and less information. But I eventually got used to it and they improved the worst parts. Plus their creation of a hobbyist weather reporting community is a game-changer. (Now if they would just provide reliability/calibration data for those stations, especially the ones that report a negligible wind speed during a howling storm.)

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: A long time coming

weather.com, the weather channel and weather underground are all owned by the same company. Expect WU to go down the same path as the weather.com 🙁

WU was only recently (since 2012) bought by The Weather Channel, and so far they haven’t destroyed it. I was a little concerned, having submitted weather data to them since 2005, that things were going to go south. So far they have kept a hands-off policy, and the two sites (weather.com/wunderground.com) still have separate teams.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: go to weather.gov ...

I use that too but just in the past few days they have revamped the screen layout and now there is a big ‘News’box at the top of the screen and I have to scroll down to get to the forecast. Since the URL begins with http://forecast.weather.gov I’d really like it to display the forecast without scrolling. Just like it did a few days ago. I do hope this isn’t the start of a trend to a newer, ‘better’ UI and that they’re not about to ruin a good thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m a FIOS customer. If I hadn’t read about them dropping TWC, I’d never have known. Haven’t watched it in years. Good for Verizon for standing up to crazy rate increases. Now if only they’d drop ESPN too!

BTW, I noticed that the TWC web page pointed to above didn’t enable comments. That doesn’t show much confidence on their part.

Anonymous Coward says:

I stopped paying much attention to The Weather Channel when I cut the cord to cable. I payed even less attention when they decided, unilaterally, to start naming every winter storm and when called out on it, doubled down on it.

I mostly use AccuWeather or WeatherBug (on my phone). I sometimes visit The Weather Channel website to get an alternative take on a forecast but my first choice is the other two I mentioned.

They have one job to do, weather analysis/forecasting. They should strive to do it well and leave the other junk to other networks. But, I suspect most of this is just related to them being owned by Comcast.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is an improvement.

Most of those alternatives have been bought up by ComcastNBCUniversal. Intellicast and WeatherUnderground have been absorbed by the Borg. WeatherUnderground used to have real data, but it has been “upgraded” by its new masters so it is now mostly a duplicate of its parent.

It’s only a matter of time before they have everything.

Karen says:

Re: This is an improvement.

NO, IT’S NOT AN IMPROVEMENT and NO, most people don’t have to go to their smartphones to get weather.
If I am watching TV and I don’t have my cell phone stuck to my body, like some do, I want to be able to turn to channel 49 and wee what the weather is.
This social media dumb down is NOT for everyone.
BTW – we needed channel 49 this past Saturday and didn’t have it.
Thanks Verizon for nothing!
Take off MTV or any of those mindless channels for the minions who don’t have a clue to life.

streetlight (profile) says:

I'm a Comcast subscriber

My problem is that I’m a Comcast subscriber and The Weather Channel is owned by NBC Universal owned by Comcast so I have not many options from viewing weather information on TV. I haven’t looked at it for years because of all their nonsense programs. Their Local on the 8s tended to be about places other than where I live. Worthless. Classic Wunderground is great on the Internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

I remember back when I was in college how one of my night teachers brought us to a big data center that he worked at during the day.

In one of the areas they had two big screen TVs with 2 cable channels showing. One was a news channel, and the other was the weather channel.

The teacher said the reason for the cable TV channels was in the unlikely event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack happening. Since those 2 things could take out the data center’s Internet connection to some other part of the world. And if either happened, the news and weather channel would inform them of it so they wouldn’t waste time trying to fix something from there that can’t be fixed.

That was close to 10 years ago. I doubt they show the weather channel there anymore for all the reasons mentioned here.

Garett Trietsch (profile) says:

Not the only email I got from Verizon yesterday

They also sent this one along, to tell me I am losing some channels, but if I want to keep them, I need to subscribe to a more expensive package. No word on how much my bill is going down at the loss of these channels…

—-
We are writing to notify you about certain upcoming programming changes to your Verizon
FiOS TV channel lineup. On or after April 16, 2015, the following channels will be removed from the FiOS® TV Extreme package you are currently subscribed to:

Fox College Sports Atlantic – Channel 300
Fox College Sports Central – Channel 301
Fox College Sports Pacific – Channel 302

Should you wish to continue viewing these channels, you may upgrade to the Verizon Ultimate HD package or purchase our Sports Pass at verizon.com/myverizon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cut the cord long ago. Even then I was disgusted with TWC who started putting commercials on their programming. I normally use the NWS for my weather needs. TWC from what I’ve heard and what is mentioned here, continued to go down hill long after I left. Since they’ve diverted from the weather, there’s nothing they offer I want, not even their internet site, assuming they have one. I haven’t bothered to even look and don’t think I’m missing anything. Most likely I have better without them.

JBDragon says:

Re: Why do/are

Because the Janitor can easily be replaced!!! When you have a crap Economy, and Lots of people and few Jobs, Pay doesn’t go Up. When there’s lots of Jobs and few people, pay goes up. Supply and Demand. It’s as simple as that. If the Janitor decided to just go missing for 7 days, he would be fired and replaced quite easily.

Create your own product and try to start up that NEW business. You can then pay yourself anything you like. Then try paying that one or 2 employee’s to start out with at $15-$20 a hour plus everything else see how that works out for you. You’ll be luckily to make anything for yourself for the first few years while working 12+ hours a day 7 days a week. You start growing, hiring more people, creating more jobs, and then the Union moves in and tells you how much you should be paying them and all the extra’s. Money that could have gone to expanding and creating more Jobs, Nope.

I haven’t had a pay raise in 4+ years like everyone else. In fact got screwed with Obamacare and Medical got canceled for everyone. Now I’m trying to deal with that huge extra cost every month myself. If you don’t like your job or your pay, quite and work someplace else that will pay you what you think you’re worth.

I worked zero skill job as a kid at $3.35 a hour. I went to school out of state full time, worked full time making $3.90 a hour, lived in a crappy apartment with a room mate, took out loans which I’ve long paid off. Had very little free time and money. I didn’t get crap from my parents. Because I wasn’t going to work my whole life at a zero skill job where I could be easily replaced.

Hell I wish I made a bunch more money. I’m far from rich. I have my small house the bank owes most of. My Dad lives with me since he lost his house when the company he worked for went out of business. No one is forcing you or anyone else to work where they are. While I don’t think some CEO should be getting some big fat bonus when the company went in the crapper and laid off a bunch of people, that’s on the board members of that company.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why do/are

in the old days…

At the end of the day, any profits were part of the bosses wages..other wise he didnt get paid.
If I had 2 employees, I wouldnt get paid.

NOW DAYS…
The top wage earners get PAid Cash, Benefits for a king, and a golf membership-if not front row seats to any sports event..
DELTA airlines, paid 1 boss, 10 years wages, 20 years retirement, and he got it all, even after they LAID HIM OFF after 3 years…it was in his contract.

You would THINK..in the Other days, after paying an employee, his State and fed taxes, and medical, and everything else…that the SAVINGS they are making with no medical, they would GIVE TO THE EMPLOYEE..

After 8 years at fred meyers, I found out that I could of been given low income housing for all that time(

Anonymous Coward says:

Everyone complains about the weather, but

no one does anything about it.

The only people who watch the Weather Channel are those in nursing homes who are too weak/frail to change the channel themselves, but can’t get the attendant to change it, either.

Oh, and those poor souls stuck in an airport after their flight was cancelled.

TimK (profile) says:

I was actually pleased to get the notice that they were dropping the (no) Weather Channel. They do everything but weather, unless there is a big storm and then they do 24/7 reporting on that storm. Not to mention that if I want to see the weather for my area, I don’t want to wait until my area is covered. It’s ever so way incredibly faster and easier to look it up online or on my phone. And speaking of online weather service, I find that the Weather Channel’s online service is the most worthless.

Anyway, I’m glad they were dropped, if for no other reason than that I shall never again have to listen to anyone call a cluster of thunderstorms by name.

Anonymous Coward says:

Going underground...

The only reliable source I’ve found that covers everything you can possibly imagine I get from here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z1ZER2cNaM&list=PLHSoxioQtwZeQaRnO5_9AJB2RmevUpuPT

I also recommend watching this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ew05sRDAcU

The thing to walk away with is to keep an open mind, don’t trust everything you hear, look at all of the sources, and never pass judgement.

Karen says:

Verizon is WRONG

Verizon dropping the local weather channel and leaving all those channels that nobody cares about is par for the course of big corporations controlling what we want/see and not having a clue of what we want/need.
BRING BACK MY LOCAL CHANNEL 49.
There are people complaining left and right and dropping FIOS. What part of this don’t they get?

Mike says:

Haven't tuned to the Weather channel in years

Seriously, who in Verizon’s territory uses the Weather Channel as a source of actual weather information?

Not me, it’s worthless. 20 minutes of watching it cycle over weather for the other two states that are near New York, and then finally FINALLY, oh wait, I’m on Long Island, I get Westchester … sigh.

Bonnie says:

The Weather Channel

Whether you like the Weather Channel or not, Verizon sold The Weather Channel as included in their list of channel offerings. So it’s bad business in my opinion to change a channel overnight with no notice to customers. What concerns me is since they seemingly have got away with doing this, what other channels will disappear overnight? And at what cost savings to Verizon? There was certainly no adjustment to my cable bill based on Verizon saving money! Where’s my cut? I called and voiced my displeasure and I put them on notice that they may be dropped after I decide my options!

Weather Channel Freak says:

No Shit

So what’s wrong with sexiest beach coverage? I never watched the Weather Channel for . . . weather. Loved some of their shows like “Why Planes Crash” and “Prospectors”. And did you see that guy freak at the thundersnow – hilarious. I’m serious dude. And what the hell is your beef with WC anyway? What, you work for Verizon as your night job? Verizon sucks – and so does Comcast. Dammit!

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