The Destruction of The Weather Channel…
In a must read, the AP’s David Bauder writes about the continued destruction of The Weather Channel which soon will be able to be referred to The Less Weather Channel…
Once the home primarily to meteorologists standing in front of maps, the new Weather Channel will be featuring Arctic pilots, iron workers, wind turbine and power line repairers and Coast Guard rescuers in both icy and tropical climates.
“It’s an evolution, not a revolution,” said Michael Dingley, the network’s senior vice president of content and development, who came to The Weather Channel from HGTV 10 months ago. “You want to respect the core viewers, but let’s invite new viewers into the tent.”
That’s an old motivation for profit-hunting cable networks, who know the key to success is grabbing casual viewers and holding them. The same forces compelled MTV to move away from music videos two decades ago, and has transformed History into more than a place for musty war movies.
The point of a weather channel is to present weather. If there’s not enough demand for weather, shut it down. Otherwise admit that you’re just trying to squeeze out more money by ruining what was once a great brand.
You want to know what’s going to happen next for the Weather Channel? The same thing that occasionally happens to CNBC and MSNBC…they’re shut down and in tape when something unexpected happens and they can’t go on the air properly. It’s a less remote scenario for The Weather Channel than CNBC and MSNBC because weather can be predicted so the channel’s brain trust will have some warning that they might need to put resources on the air at a time they’re in tape. But they could still be caught off gaurd or, worse, decide through some internal metric that will make absolutely no sense to you and me that the event wasn’t big enough to warrant them breaking tape. It’s going to happen.
Correction: Actually I forgot…it already has happened…
While the new shows have helped ratings, The Weather Channel executives must be mindful of a wary fan base that insists upon weather being the top priority. Viewers were sharply critical last spring — and TWC meteorologist Jim Cantore tweeted an apology — when the network did not interrupt a movie to cover a tornado outbreak in Arkansas.
The network has ditched movies, Dingley said.
Yeah…the movies are now infesting the channel that used to be Vs. and is now called the NBC Sports (and movie) Channel.
Jeff Zucker may be gone from NBCU but his legacy still plagues its cable properties to their brands’ detriment.
And then there’s this bit of self serving pablum from Al Roker…
“Everybody needs to evolve,” said Roker, who also hosts the “Wake Up with Al” forecasting show early on weekday mornings. “The History channel has a new definition of what history is on their channel. A&E has redefined who they are. If it’s a good story and well told and you’re not talking down to the audience, I think it’s going to do well.”
Yeah…I might take this line of thought a bit more seriously if it wasn’t coming from someone who has a vested financial interest in seeing things go this way because his production company is supplying shows to some of the very networks he just cited. Duh!