Thursday, January 23, 2014

No sympathy for The Weather Channel in its fight with DirecTV

I've always been a Weather Fan, and I've watched more Weather Channel through the years than I'd care to admit. Not so much in the last 10 years or so, however, when the channel's relevance has been dimished by the immediacy of weather information via the Internet and iPhone apps. Still, I remember one long summer day in the '90s of following the channel when two lines of storms were bearing down on north Mississippi — one moving east and one moving west — putting the two on a collision course. The meteorologists warned of the dangers of a "merger" situation. I've never seen anything like that before or since. If you tuned in today to get a radar view, however, you might be greeted with a reality program instead of weather coverage. Such is the bitch of cable television, in which channels carve out a niche and then systematically set about abandoning it in favor of the ratings chase.

Now, in the storm of carriers of versus content creators, The Weather Channel is kicked to the curb by DirecTV. The reality is that channels are asking for obscene amounts of money each year from the service providers — satellite, cable, fios, etc. — resulting in my bill going up each year. So, I don't mind if DirecTV plays a little hard ball. Dish did it with AMC Networks, resulting in AMC being off for months. I think the best interest of the consumer generally rests with the satellite/cable companies in these corporate spats.

These disputes always turn ugly, but The Weather Channel has taken it to new levels of stupidity. In addition to getting posterboy Jim Cantore fired up, they began a campaign to get irate consumers to contact their congressmen. This is where The Weather Channel incinerated any credibility it ever had — to suggest that it is some sort of public utility, and anything other than a business out to make money — is marketing manipulation of the lowest kind.

WeatherNation, which DirecTV fiendishly added just ahead of the contract dispute, is no great shakes. But, still, good riddance to utter bullshit.

No comments: