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.