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: contracts, disputes, tv, weather
Companies: directv, the weather channel

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  1. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 16 Jan 2014 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: 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.

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