The Weather Channel’s Apocalyptic Gameplan…

Deadline’s Lisa De Moraes writes about the silly little display that went on today at the TCA concerning The Weather Channel…

A major storm rained down on Winter TV Press Tour 2014 this morning when The Weather Channel took the stage to blast DirectTV over their current carriage dispute. In anticipation of the channel’s appearance before a couple hundred journalists at the tour, it issued an ominous campaign late last night warning viewers they needed to contact their congressional reps to intervene, or else DirecTV would take away “its critical weather programming,” calling it a “public safety issue.”

TV critics at the press tour weren’t entirely drinking The Weather Channel’s Kool-aid. One critic noted TWC is a successful company owned by a big corporation, asking “Is it fair to declare it a public utility?” in what’s really a business dispute.

DirecTV Weather channel“Absolutely. And I’m not kidding,” Weather Channel president David Clark responded ominously. “If you’ve ever been in a severe weather situation and you need to make a decision to protect your family and you need to make it fast” you need “to know your information comes from a trusted source… We have a mission to serve that we take seriously. Don’t think you can stand a fly-by-night alternative to that,” he said, warning “you’re going to be putting your audience at risk.”

What utter claptrap. 10-15 years ago you could make a slightly more plausible argument about The Weather Channel’s place as a go to destination in a crisis. But today we have the internet. We have local TV which gets served by companies like Accuweather. We have radio. We have cable news. We have the nightly newscasts. We have apps you can download to your smartphone. We have many choices…all as good as the Weather Channel.

What this campaign really amounts to is a scare tactic…but one without much teeth. The Weather Channel is trying to scare the public into thinking that they’re about to lose a resource they can’t get anywhere else. If…if…The Weather Channel was about to drop off all providers at once you might be in a better place to make that argument. But this is just one operator.

And that’s why this is such a big deal. The Weather Channel fears what could happen next if DirecTV prevails either by dropping the channel or by successfully negotiating a more restrained financial carriage agreement…that this will be the first of many dominoes that could fall against it as more carriage agreements come up for renewal down the road.

Thus the semi-apocalyptic statements coming from The Weather Channel. It knows what’s at stake. It’s in a battle for relevance…in heated competition with a multitude of perfectly acceptable weather forecasting options. In other words, it’s in a fight for its very existence.


16 Responses to “The Weather Channel’s Apocalyptic Gameplan…”

  1. “But today we have the internet. We have local TV which gets served by companies like Accuweather. We have radio. We have cable news. We have the nightly newscasts. We have apps you can download to your smartphone.” Aaaaaaaand we have the Weather Channel, which streams online during critical times.

  2. Time Warner Cable in northeast Ohio has a 7×24 dedicated weather channel run by the Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC which has top equipment and as good a team of meteorologists as you will find anywhere. Al Roker started there. That, and they know the territory and it’s idiosyncrasies. No way would I be watching the Weather Channel in a local weather emergency.

  3. icemannyr Says:

    TWC having their OCMs mention before going to break that DTV customers are going to lose a vital service if DTV drops TWC is comical. So is the ad running with Jim Cantore about DTV.
    TWC airs taped programming 8pm to 4am weekdays and 2pm to 4:30am weekends. No vital weather information being given then.

    There were two times last year in May when TWC stayed on taped programming when there were active torandoes on the ground.

    TWC trying to claim they are a public service is comical. They are a TV Network with live programming an non weather reality shows.

  4. WKYC meteorologist Bruce Kalinowski is a Weather Channel alumnus. He went by Bruce Edwards over there. In fact, he had the first word when the channel signed on back in May 1982. Andre Bernier spoke next.

  5. The Cleveland NBC FOX ABC stations have as good news operations as NY or LA. I know because I used to get network feeds from both coasts at my Appalachian cabin for years before DirecTV could provide local channels.

  6. Ironic we are one day away from DTV possibly dropping TWC and they are doing live shows all day instead of taped programming even now when there are no active storms.

    I say this was all planned by TWC to be live all day Saturday and Sunday so they can keep having their OCMs say DTV is dropping TWC on Monday.

  7. Like I said in the Hot/Not post, when there’s a major storm system, the cable news channels usually provide up to the minute coverage. Local news channels usually go on air and provide up to the minute information to viewers as well. If I’m not near the television, I get severe weather alerts on my iPhone, iPad and Kindle Fire. In fact, the government sends out severe weather alerts automatically now.

    It’s not like TWC is live anyways. I was in a hotel in Kingsport last year watching coverage of one of the tornadoes and The Weather Channel wasn’t even on the air while MSNBC and CNN were live.

  8. People will die with out prospectors. If the weather channel was still a 24 hour weather channel they would have a point but they like to cut out unless it’s a a storm and for awhile not did that.
    I remember when Dish dropped them for airing movies , for a short time and now no movies. Plus their is more competition internet, local news , weather nation , apps etc..

  9. Andy, there were two days last May when there were tornadoes on the ground and TWC chose to stay on taped programming and were late to start their coverage.

    May 15th 2013 due to meetings TWC made a decision to re run the tornado week shows instead of scheduling live weather shows 5pm-8pm, 10pm and 1am.
    They got caught with tornadoes in Texas and were forced to go live at 8pm ET.

    Then on May 18th, 2013 a storm the Tornado Hunt team were following had 3 tornadoes touch down between around 8:25pm and 9pm in KS and OK and TWC stayed on tape till 9pm.

    TWCs live all day stunt continues today.

  10. Technology has gotten ahead of TWC so their influence has diminished considerably. Thus the switch to these gimmick shows to attract audiences.

    However, when we had to leave the area (I live on the Gulf Coast) because of hurricanes, TWC was invaluable for us when we were watching the news from our hotel room. They had live reports from out home area that kept us up to date since we obviously couldn’t watch the local news from our hotel hundreds of miles away.

    So, it’s still a good channel/source for those near major storms or having to leave because of the threats.

  11. Nixon - niila niihpikiiookwa meentwasiaani Says:

    TWC has been selling used food for quite some time. Were John Hope alive, he’d snap and go postal.

  12. When I saw it on the Fox News ticker this morning I thought, “That’s a bunch of hogwash!” A couple years ago the state of Nebraska was under severe weather watches and TWC went with the taped reality crap. If a storm hits Atlanta, NYC, New Orleans, or any other major city TWC deems important, they go live.

  13. Now TWC is turning this into an infomercial about why TWC is so important. They are playing clips from viewers talking about TWC.
    Also various off camera meteorologists have been doing interview segments with the OCMs talking about TWC.

    It’s so funny how a channel that cut back live hours with a relaunch is now crowing about how vital and important they are.
    Again, if what TWC does is so important why are reality shows on 8pm to 4am weekdays and 2pm to 4:30 am weekends.

  14. The new weather information ( weather nation) does not serve as good as the former station. I find it ridiculous not to get the news on my state as soon as I needed it. I am not privy to whatever happen to weather channel station that is more reliable than this one we are having on direct tv (channel 362) here in Delaware….why don’t we put it back for the sake of public viewers and not for the sake of private pocket?

  15. Let me tell you this. We loved TWC before the idiot who runs it decided to run it into the ground. I remember when it premiered. It could have kept its relevance if it had kept to weather instead of ballerina dumb-bunny Weather Gurlz and stupid reality shows. The meteorologists like Jim Cantore must be in hell now. My cable provider has made the channel a premium one–so basic cable customers don’t get it now anyway. How many times can one shoot oneself in the foot and live?–stay tuned and you’ll see.


    The Weather Channel’s Apocalyptic Gameplan… | Inside Cable News

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