DirecTV Combats Weather Channel Price Hikes By...Actually Showing People The Weather

from the you're-really-not-very-good-at-your-only-job dept

The Weather Channel has been well-deserving of mockery over the last few years, whether its for their efforts to sex up storms by naming them (in the process creating a nation of weather neurotics who become hysterical about drizzle), or for an ocean of TV and website content that has absolutely nothing to do with the weather (here's some funny faces, yuk yuk). As such, their recent battle with DirecTV over retransmission fees doesn't find the company getting much sympathy. Especially when the channel tries to argue that people will die without their inane assortment of non-weather-related content.

Normally in such retransmission disputes the content company has some leverage over the satellite or cable TV provider because what they're withholding has somewhat irreplaceable value to the viewer (say, like "Breaking Bad"). In The Weather Channel's case, their belief that they somehow held an exclusive over weather forecasting, combined with the fact that they have increasingly gotten worse at their one and only job, has given DirecTV the upper hand in the ongoing feud. After pulling the channel from the lineup back in January, DirecTV continues to battle The Weather Channel in a very simple way -- by simply offering viewers the weather for a change:
DirecTV on Monday unveiled a suite of new weather services for its subscribers, including a feature that allows customers to gain access to local weather information at any time...The satcaster said customers tuned to WeatherNation can press the red button on their remote to access instant local weather conditions and outlook. Later this week, short term and extended weather forecasts by zip code will also be integrated into the live WeatherNation broadcast and run automatically on the channel every 10 minutes.
Surely being offered actual information on the weather will outrage viewers who love sitting through a half hour of off-topic infotainment and dreck just to get the snow forecast totals for their neighborhood. Seriously, without The Weather Channel, who'll tell us which celebrities like to hunt or provide recipes for cheesy chicken bites? Usually these retransmission feuds resolve with cable and satellite companies buckling and agreeing to some sort of significant hike (then passed on to you), though with the sort of stuff The Weather Channel has been producing in recent years, it's not clear if customers will want DirecTV to cave.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 1:26pm

    When shooting your own foot isn't enough...

    So now that DirecTV has started offering weather services themselves, and from the sound of it better weather services, what exactly does the Weather Channel have to bargain with? Cheap reality tv? Cooking shows?

    In their attempt to get a bigger slice of the profits pie, they seem to have pretty thoroughly screwed themselves over here.

     

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 3:11pm

      Re: When shooting your own foot isn't enough...

      It's called "pricing yourself out of the market." It's the sort of awesome comeuppance that tends to happen to obnoxious companies in scenarios where real competition exists.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Feb 13th, 2014 @ 8:42am

      Re: When shooting your own foot isn't enough...

      Shooting themselves in the foot is not enough. Pricing themselves out of the market is not enough.

      Let me put on my weather prediction cap . . . .

      Forecast: Heavy lawsuits with light drizzle of facts and scattered intellectual property claims with light on specifics.

       

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      Player911, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

      Re: When shooting your own foot isn't enough...

      I cut my cord years ago and got a Roku. One cool thing is it's ability to have a custom weather screen saver that rotates through lots of selected information such as humidity,rainfall, snowfall, tides, sunrise, moon, current forcast, weekly forcast, etc. You can turn off and on which pages cycle and it cycles like every 5 seconds, so it's pretty fast.

      Honestly thats all we need. Plus who doesn't have a weather app on their phones.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:15pm

    I'll just look outside and predict the weather. It's sunny outside, not a cloud in the sky. I predict it's not going to rain today.

    Oh shoot, did I just commit copyright infringement?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:21pm

    does it even matter? There are dozens of websites with realtime weather information for all over the planet, so how does any TV channel about weather still have any relevance left?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

      Re:

      In cases of major disaster would be the only time I could see. Power is out and lines are cut leaving internet/phone, down, then most of those world wide options are gone. With a generator, you could get a radio or maybe a TV with satellite working.

       

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        sorrykb (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

        Re: Re:

        In cases of major disaster would be the only time I could see. Power is out and lines are cut leaving internet/phone, down, then most of those world wide options are gone. With a generator, you could get a radio or maybe a TV with satellite working.

        This is why you keep a battery-operated AM radio and spare batteries in your home/car/workplace emergency kits. Much more reliable than a cable or satellite service. (Plus, it's hard to fit the 51" TV in the emergency kit.)

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 3:06pm

        Re: Re:

        Well ... would you be able to get direct T.V. or cable T.V. (which has the weather) under such circumstances? If not, then how is it relevant again?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 4:35pm

        Re: Re:

        If things are really that bad do you need the Weather Channel to tell you you're screwed?

         

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    DOlz (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:33pm

    Our tax dollars at work

    http://www.weather.gov

    The Weather Channel gets their raw data from NOAA. Here you can get it direct from the source, customized by zip code and no commercials.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 4:28pm

      Re: Our tax dollars at work

      Hmm, I hadn't looked at weather.gov for a few yrs. I just went there and oh, it's pretty good. Replaced my weather.com bookmark :) Thanks.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 6:35pm

      Re: Our tax dollars at work

      I think the national weather service runs one of the few US government websites that is actually really useful and functional.

      Maybe that's because the agency is run mainly by scientists, not politicians.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Feb 13th, 2014 @ 8:43am

      Re: Our tax dollars at work

      Weather prediction: NOAA will be sued by the Weather Channel.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 2:35pm

    Even if The Weather Channel wasn't trying to hike their rates, why would any carrier pay them anything? Every smartphone in the country is shooing weather data to the home screen for free, automatically. Weather data is now ubiquitous and therefore worthless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    A simple analogy

    MTV:music::TWC:Weather

     

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      DannyB (profile), Feb 13th, 2014 @ 8:46am

      Re: A simple analogy

      Generalize that. Whatever a cable channel names themselves is the one thing that they will be bad at, and will be drowned out by other off topic irrelevant fluff.

      As MTV is to Music...
      As TWC is to Weather...

      So is The Science Channel to Science. (Ghost hunters, etc)
      So is The History Channel to History. (Ancient Aliens, etc)

      And now...

      So is CNN to News. Oh how I remember, young ones, how CNN once did actual news.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re: A simple analogy

        "Oh how I remember, young ones, how CNN once did actual news."

        As MTV at one time did actual music as well.

         

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 3:49pm

    So, basically...

    ...DirecTV has reinvented what everyone in Canada has had all along? The Weather Network on cable = all weather, with some info on a bottom bar even during ads. The Weather Network on Bell Expressvu satellite can be set up to show your local data, and moreover has the push-the-red-button feature. And that can then be used to browse weather forecasts, current conditions, warnings, and other stuff for pretty much any place in Canada with a weather station if you want to.

     

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    PlagueSD (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 3:59pm

    DirecTV on Monday unveiled a suite of new weather services for its subscribers, including a feature that allows customers to gain access to local weather information at any time...The satcaster said customers tuned to WeatherNation can press the red button on their remote to access instant local weather conditions and outlook.


    There's this wonderful invention that already does this for you. It's called a window. You can look outside and almost immediately determine what the weather is.

     

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    rapnel, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 4:23pm

    But...

    But drama! I need the drama with my weather! I need three lane freeways to turn into a slow-chase bumper-car tournament for kids under 3 and kids over 80 in the slightest of drizzles! DRAMA! Big hurricane satellite imagery when someone says tropical depression! Drama Bitches! I'll pay for it!

     

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    dave blevins (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 4:40pm

    Weather channel

    TWC was going downhill before Comcast/NBC bought them and really accelerated its ruin. They don't fix problems with their web site, have about 5 minutes per hour of real weather (rest is E!-like cr*p) and have figured a way to make the "Local on the 8s" graphics look like a 3 year-old's design.

     

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    zip, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 5:00pm

    I've wondered how long it will be before The Weather Channel changes its name to TWC, completely abandons its original theme, and starts broadcasting a lineup of lame reality shows and other trash. (It's not like that sort of thing has never happened to a cable channel before)

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 4:56am

      Re: TWC

      What, you mean MTV hasn't *always* stood for My TV ?

       

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      JBDragon, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 4:54pm

      Re:

      Except they've been broadcasting lame reality shows already!!! That's part of the problem. you want the weather, and you have Reality programming. I'm glad it's gone. These company's want to jack their rates up, especially for the crap they play, I hope they get dropped, booted, whatever. There's going to be someone else to take it's place. It may not be the SAME, but that could be a good thing.

       

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    madasahatter (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 5:07pm

    Weather

    What people need is the weather where they live and if they are travelling at the destination and along their route. Otherwise, they really do not need to know much the details in other areas. What they need to know is the direction and intensity of the weather fronts and when they will arrive locally.

    With ice storm in Atlanta at least two local TV stations are continuously covering the storm with frequent forecast updates. Since I am in the metro Atlanta area, I need to know what will happen tonight in Atlanta. The local media is doing an admirable job of covering the story so why would I even watch the Weather Channel.

     

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    Jill, Feb 12th, 2014 @ 5:35pm

    The Weather Channel and Directv

    I support Directv. So glad the Weather Channel is gone and we now have WeatherNation. I am pleased. But I am afraid the Weather Channel will be back some day. Like when the carriage contract ends with NBC. NBC/Universal can just add The Weather Channel to this block of channels and Directv will certainly cave to keep CNBC. So afraid this might happen , but hoping it doesn't.

     

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    RoKphish (profile), Feb 12th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Kudos to DirecTV

    The Weather Channel?
    Never watch it ... could care less if it ever comes back.

    I hope they lower my bill a couple bucks a month now that it's gone.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 5:03am

      Re: Kudos to DirecTV

      'I hope they lower my bill a couple bucks a month now that it's gone.'


      Dang, that's funny.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 10:48am

      Re: Kudos to DirecTV

      "could care less"

      Really? Exactly how much less could you care and why do you care at all if you never watch it? Or did you actually mean to say you "COULDN'T care less", which is the actual expression and would make a lot more sense given the context of the rest of your comment.

       

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      JBDragon, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 4:57pm

      Re: Kudos to DirecTV

      They'll never drop your bill!!! It'll just help keep them from jacking prices up. They keep jacking prices up and people like myself FLEE!!! I now have a nice large Antenna and record that way. Then there is this thing called the internet where I can pretty much watch anything and everything I want anyway. As for the weather, "I Have a App for that!!!"

       

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    Mike, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    I haven't watched the WC in years. Not only does their content suck, but seldom if ever is there any worthy weather information if you live anywhere west of the Mississippi.

     

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    Nargg (profile), Feb 13th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    The old days....

    At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I do prefer the older days of Cable and Satellite channel programming. CNN was pure news, and nothing else. TWC was boring repeated weather (not a BAD thing!) MTV was music only. Exclusive content was a totally different concept, not multi-million dollar drama fests. Fewer movie channels, which made things easier to find. Today's TV content is a mess, a total mess. And more commercials now than ever, so why do we even pay for TV when all we seem to pay for is commercials?!?! Seems wrong.

     

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      Debbie, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 2:59pm

      Re: The old days....

      Remember when CNN started to branch out from news into opinion, so they made Headline News for "just the news"? That was my go-to "on the road" channel. And now even *that* is barely watchable, what with the scrolls and insets and non-news content.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Weather Underground

    While the previously mentioned weather.gov is very good, I really like Weather Underground.

    http://www.wunderground.com/

    Besides more data on a city forecast, you can also find historical data on the site. However, for me the best thing is that they provide access to the network of local monitoring stations. When I want, I can get rainfall totals from 3 blocks away, not just what happened at the airport on the other side of the county.

    There's also an API, but I haven't found the time to play with it yet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    TWC could always try The Naked News route to win back viewership.

     

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    Shawn Levasseur, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 2:32pm

    Forecast.io

    Most weather websites (ESPECIALLY the Weather Channel's weather.com) is an ad laden, takes you a dozen page loads to get the information you want, mess.

    I use http://forecast.io very clean interface with just one token ad.

     

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    John R, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

    Old Hat

    But DirecTV also had a local weather button on The Weather Channel.

    One problem that DirecTV hasn't solved for all their channels is live rescheduling. When a sports show runs overtime, the DVR's schedule should know that -- so it can record the desired show properly (whether you're trying to record the sports show, or record the following show). This also applied to The Weather Channel's overriding non-weather programming when weather events were happening.

     

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    JeremyR, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 2:52pm

    This isn't anything new

    There was the same functionality when the Weather Channel was on Direct TV - you just press the red button and got the local weather.

    But when they switched to Weather Nation, they didn't have that. It took them a few weeks to get it up and running.

    There's a big difference between Weather Nation and the Weather Channel, but the local weather is not new.

    (And at #5 - not everyone has a smart phone. Indeed, I imagine one of the main reasons to use DirecTV in the first place is you don't have the option of cable or have decent wireless coverage. Sure, a heavy rain will knock DirecTV out, but anything short of that it works steady enough)

     

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    gary, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 3:25pm

    Good riddance: TWC

    TWC lost me when they bought into the global warming, I mean "climate change" crap. What a bunch of hooey (FACT: No warming for over 15 years...the computer models were wrong) And then they started naming winter storms, give me a break. Whats next, naming tornadoes?

    Just go to the NOAA web site, type in a zip code and you have all the weather information you could ever need without all the blathering of those TWC goofs

     

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      Niall (profile), Feb 14th, 2014 @ 1:08pm

      Re: Good riddance: TWC

      You mean the climate change that 97% of climate scientists agree on, that even right-wing governments in any other country but the US agree on?

      You mean the warming 'pause' that's been shown to be because of stronger Pacific winds? You mean the 15-year 'pause' that's a mere flash-in-the-pan?

      What next, gonna deny HIV=AIDS, evolution and vaccines?

       

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        schizoid, Feb 14th, 2014 @ 11:52pm

        Re: Re: Good riddance: TWC

        He means the "global warming" that even you don't believe in anymore, which is why you are pivoting to "climate change."

         

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          Clownius, Feb 17th, 2014 @ 11:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Good riddance: TWC

          You mean the 'global warming" we only have due to the accuracy (or complete lack of) of the media? When it was "climate change" the whole time?

           

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    Harcourt, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 5:01pm

    Markets work. Who'dathunkit?

     

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    Michael, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 5:48pm

    I want my TWC

    I like my weather deliver by nice looking women. Give me back my Stephanie Abrams!

     

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    Dagnabbit_42, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 8:42pm

    This take is not accurate

    I have no sympathy for reality shows and the like.

    And, yeah, the Weather Channel did show too much of that for a while.

    But they actually started reducing that in favor of returning to weather-heavy content some 6 months ago.

    And one thing they do well is on-the-spot reporting and very location-specific info.

    That's what's not-so-good about the fly-by-night crew that replaced Weather Channel on DirecTv: It's basically a region-wide weather forecast on like a 3-hour loop that doesn't even update. So the level of information detail and current-ness is worse.

    And more than that...have you seen it? I think they just do a kind of cheesy Wayne's World kind of job.

    All that's to say: I'd lean towards Weather Channel. And if I lived out in the sticks where you can't get cable and Weather Channel was the main reason I wanted DirecTv? I'd be peeved if they dropped it for that low-budget replacement and still charged me the same.

     

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    Corky Boyd, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 10:07pm

    Direct TV/Weathe Channel

    When I first heard Direct TV was dropping the Weather Channel, I quickly flipped to channel 362, just two clicks away from Fox News. But it was still there (so I thought) with colorful graphics and eye catching presenters. Later I saw a logo that wasn't Weather Channel, it was Weather Nation.

    What chutzpa the Weather Channel has to claim we are in earthly danger by not being able to see their version of the weather. They are trying to get congressional legislation to save their tails. In reality the networks and the cable channels should be the ones paying the cable and satellite providers to carry their programming rather than the other way around. The cable providers got their start because of the crummy signals local TV stations were putting out.

     

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    Dave K, Feb 13th, 2014 @ 10:32pm

    Didn't even notice

    I didn't even notice DirecTV dropped TWC because we hardly ever watched it. We rely on our local weather and if something major is going on, our local radar is more accurate than theirs was. I also check the radar online either on the PC or our Kindle. TWC used to provide a unique service but these days, you have plenty of options.

     

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    Jean, Feb 14th, 2014 @ 2:18pm

    DTV and TWC

    TWC = That Worthless Channel
    MTV = Moronic Television
    WN = Weather Nation
    That's my version of things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    Why must " Montgomery " cover half of Al , then all across Ga and into the ocean ? Would not a small print do ? Or maybe an "M" an"A" for Atlanta ? I live behind the "e" ,radar on local weather is useless ! Do you realize thousands live behind "Montgomery" !

     

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