Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The DirecTV Weather Wars Heating Up

At the end of December, I wrote a post about a war of sorts between DirecTV and The Weather Channel over the proverbial rates that a network wants the provider to pay them to carry their network.
DirecTV responded with offering a network called Weather Nation and it has been on the air since about the week before Christmas.
As noted, The Weather Channel is now partially owned by NBCUniversal. And it is very personality driven. And there is not as much actual weather and a lot of filler programming.
Weather Nation is, essentially, what The Weather Channel was. All weather, all the time.
Now how do I know that The Weather Channel is scared?
Friend them on Facebook.
Here at this link, you can see that they are begging fans to call DirecTV to also beg them to keep The Weather Channel on the satellite provider. The Facebook post was done on Saturday and as of this posting, 2,472 liked it and 418 comments have been logged. I made a couple of them. I totally urge you to take a peek because if the comments are anything, there is not as much love for The Weather Channel as one would think.
And as of this morning, it is full blown war as DirectTV is not showing The Weather Channel.
Of course, The Weather Channel is saying that DirecTV "dropped" them. DirecTV says that they will not cave in to their demands to pay more for carrying The Weather Channel and having to pass it on to the consumer.
And get this.
David Kenny, CEO of parent company The Weather Co., wants congress to intervene to force DirecTV to put it back on the air. And the reason? Because it claims that it is the only source for 20,000,000 for emergency weather information. 
Sorry, I just spilled my coffee on that one.
It really is not at all.
As noted in this article, DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer, points out that since there are local channels, they provide weather in an emergency. They also use special channels in the event of a major weather emergency and I know that first hand watching it during Katrina and other major hurricanes.
Mr. Mercer also noted the reason they put Weather Nation on in the first place is because viewers were complaining about the excess of shows vs. weather on The Weather Channel.
Again, judging by the numerous comments left on Facebook, many people will not care if The Weather Channel comes back in its current form.
The fact is that NBCUniversal screwed it up in the first place.
In reality they created personalities in many of the weather reporters such as Jim Cantore. And once they cut back on actual weather programming, many people (myself included) did not like it. Even the so-called Local On The 8's was jumbled and often not all that local. Again, The Weather Channel is citing local coverage as a reason DirecTV needs to get them back on the air.
In the end, The Weather Channel will have to back down if they want to get back on DirecTV. Many DirecTV viewers have given Weather Nation two-thumbs up, myself included. The longer this dispute goes on, the less likely The Weather Channel will recover once it comes back on.
The other aspect is as Weather Nation gains in popularity, other cable/satellite providers may take a look at it and get that as a part of their channel line-up. Those of us that have come to like Weather Nation over The Weather Channel will be very upset if DirecTV dumps them if they do get The Weather Channel back. Again as I noted in my earlier post on the subject, if all works out and The Weather Channel returns, it should be in competition with Weather Nation. Again, there are three news networks. Two sports networks. With competition, The Weather Channel may return to its roots. If not, they will think that we like all the shows and really don't care about the weather.
In the meantime, it is an all out weather war between The Weather Channel and Weather Nation.
Pass the popcorn for this one!

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