The Weather Channel Finally Gets The Message: Announces Plan To Actually Cover…The Weather

from the brilliant-ideas dept

Over the last few years, The Weather Channel has been slowly but surely veering away from its core competency in a ham-fisted attempt to cater to the lowest common denominator. While its TV channel now offers a rotating variety of relative-awful reality TV only tangentially related to the weather, (ranging from Prospectors to Fat Guys in the Woods) its website often focuses on non-weather related subjects like kooky buffalo and hard-hitting analysis of the world’s “sexiest” beaches. Having anchors stand stupidly around in thundersnow storms is another favorite channel pastime.

But then something interesting happened. When The Weather Channel executives tried to up the rates on cable operators like DirecTV and Verizon FiOS, both companies balked — and pulled The Weather Channel from their lineups, replacing it with channels, apps and services that actually reported the weather. Apparently, threatening to pull your product from the market if you don’t get more money — only works when people give a damn about your product. Meanwhile, cable companies are having a harder time pushing off programming rate hikes to consumers awash with alternative options.

Initially, The Weather Channel executives responded by trying to claim DirecTV and Verizon were threatening public safety by pulling access to an invaluable public resource (an argument that fell flat on its face since most realize the channel doesn’t actually provide that). Then, the company amusingly tried to attack competitors like AccuWeather by actually claiming it offered too much fluff. But with a little time to think about it, The Weather Channel executives appear to have finally learned something.

The company this week announced a notable restructuring that will, amazingly enough, involve refocusing The Weather Channel on actually covering the weather:

“The plan calls for a singular focus “on our unique strength — and that is the weather.” With the cable channel bundle coming under increasing pressure, and “skinny bundles” becoming more common, “it’s inevitable that channels will be cut,” Weather Company CEO David Kenny said in an interview. With this in mind, “we need to be really clear who we are,” Kenny said.

That means paring back its original programming investments (shows like “Prospectors” and “Fat Guys in the Woods”) and lifestyle coverage. The priority is essential, live weather coverage — particularly during periods of severe weather — and local information.

Granted there’s only so many ways you can monetize a quick glance at the five-day forecast, and filling twenty-four hours of eyeball-grabbing airtime in the smartphone era without catering to nitwits will likely be a continued challenge. But it’s at least a positive sign that the company sees the cable TV landscape changing and needs to either change with it, or be left behind.

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Companies: the weather channel, weather channel

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Comments on “The Weather Channel Finally Gets The Message: Announces Plan To Actually Cover…The Weather”

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36 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Who is watching this?

The only time in my life where I have is during extreme weather, usually if it’s close to affecting me. During those times, they generally did a better job than the local guys who have 1 person one staff who knows a damn thing about weather.

I mean I cut the cord about….5 years ago now, so I can’t say for sure what it’s been like since then, but back then? that was the best for those fleeting moments in life.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can almost understand sitting and watching a weather channel during something like a hurricane. But the last major storm we had here Jim Cantori was a black behind me hyping up the info. It was already a pretty decent storm and didn’t need the extra hype. The whole time I was running an old school IRC channel keeping everyone I know up to date on what was really happening…at least until the power went in a spectacular cascade failure of transformers that lasted 20 minutes and lit the sky in an eerie wavering blue light.

dave blevins (profile) says:

The "weather" channel

My Comcast version of the weather channel thinks my “local” area is about 30 miles from me. So my “Local on the 8s” is useless and there is NO WAY to contact anyone who might fix this, NO WAY, not Comcast, not NBC, not weather.com.

Weather.com is slightly more useful but the amount of the page not taken up by ads or other non-weather items is very small. I’ve switched to weatherunderground.com for my weather.

streetlight (profile) says:

Haven't watched Weather Channel for years

And I’m not likely to start again. I think they got rid of most of the their knowledgeable in studio weather folks a long time ago and there’s nothing there to watch. My go to weather info comes from Wunderground.com. It’s now owned by the Weather Channel and seems to have kept its focus on weather, though their new web site design is terrible, slow and hard to use.

Anonymous Coward says:

@ Dark Helmet "Who is watching this?" -- Same as with Techdirt, 4 out of first 10 comments are by the re-writers!

Evidently you boy-clowns are trying open astro-turfing. Indeed, only reason I clicked in was because so many comments!

The astro-turfing neatly parallels article topic. Now how about you getting back to either “tech” or “dirt”?

Quick sampling, any of which beat this topic:

“US training helped mold ISIS top military commander…”

“Drug use at ‘highest level in more than decade’…”

“APPLE’s ad-blocking software ‘could threaten free Internet’…”

“ATTACKERS SEVER FIBER-OPTIC CABLES IN SAN FRAN…”

“GOOGLE hires mental health expert…”

“Digital era hits income for writers…” (certain to show up: Author’s Guild: Masnick will rant about their “””study”””, with many mock quotes)

“TECH DISRUPTION HANGS OVER AUTOMAKERS AT FRANKFURT SHOW…”

Anonymous Coward says:

I used to remember watching the weather channel. That place that said it had no commercials and was proud of it. Did a fair job of covering the weather.

Then one day to my horror, there were commercials. Thing is, they aren’t the only ones to do weather. Hell, I gotta a weather station at home fills in most of what I want or need to know. It’s calibrated and works just dandy. Between it and NOAA, I’ve forgotten about the weather channel. Then one day I didn’t need a TV anymore nor a cable bill.

Sexy beaches? That’s a new one on me, never heard of such. They dress them in bikinis now?

onefeather (profile) says:

reality weather channel

The weather channel use to be good, but it is nothing more than a stupid silly reality show, they have these women on there that are ‘eye candy’ and no brains, they need to hire real meteorologist who have been to collage/school and know their job, it seems that they have Very Few who know about weather. I guess they are more into the reality shows than weather. I have talked to high school kids that know more facts about weather than the ladies they have on, yes they are cute and dress nice and make silly comments but seem to be brain dead about anything relating to weather.

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