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.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.
"The Weather Channel isn't just another TV network. It's a must-have resource that keeps families safe," proclaimed a headline on Weather.com.
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.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.
"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."