Cable Networks Must Balance Revenue Goals And Original Programming Promises

The Weather Channel will be doing more “programs” as part of its TV content. Is that good for TV providers? As part of the network’s recent upfront presentation, it announced a new flagship morning series, “AMHQ with Sam Champion.”

Other new Weather Channel programs will include “Tornado Alley,” which aspires to be both educational and entertaining on the topic of tornados, and “Catching Hell,” a “Deadliest Catch” kind of show,

The Weather Channel’s addition of more “reality” programming has been criticized for branching out too far from the network’s original function of delivering nonstop weather news. Its effort to expand programming has run into problems with DirecTV -- one of the U.S.’ top TV providers, with some 20 million plus subscribers.  The network is also asking for higher subscriber fees.

Weather Channel executives say the new shows provide value by delving deeper into weather-related issues and preparedness.  They also say the programs don’t conflict with prime-time periods when consumers seek weather information: the morning before starting off to work, school, or other activities, and the end of the day when they want to know the weather for the next day.

In this regard, would it be too much of a stretch for DirecTV and other providers to ask ESPN to return to delivering just highlight footage on “SportsCenter”-type of shows? Or for MTV and VH1 to return to airing only music videos; or perhaps for Headline News to stick to, um, headlines?

All those networks have also dramatically expanded beyond their original programming promises. Maybe DirecTV should go after them as well.

The TV network business is all about expansion and growth, much as it is for providers like DirecTV, Dish, Comcast and Time Warner.  All media companies have goals for future revenue -- and a delicate balance in how to get there.

Now if the Weather Channel were to become, say, the Fur Network or the Sad Accountants Channel, that would be another consideration. But if real-time humidity, wind chill and barometric readings were part of the plan, I might have another point of view.

Tags: cable, cable tv, tv
Recommend (2) Print RSS
1 comment about "Cable Networks Must Balance Revenue Goals And Original Programming Promises ".
  1. Chuck Anziulewicz from 1959 , March 6, 2014 at 5:38 p.m.
    I can hardly stomach The Weather Channel (TWC) anymore ... which bugs me because I've always been fascinated by meteorology. I used to watch TWC a LOT. I appreciated the fact that they would focus on the weather ... and ONLY the weather ... in a clearheaded, dignified way. But then TWC was purchased by NBC-Universal, and suddenly the channel went into a tailspin. First came "Wake Up With Al" featuring Al Roker's relentless clowning and self-glorification. Then came the cheesy reality shows about rock hounds and people doing ridiculous stunts. The last straw was when TWC, in what can only be described as some kind of shameless publicity stunt, started NAMING snow events! And just today, on TWC's website, was this headline: "Asteroid Headed Toward Earth Today!" The accompanying video starts with a photograph of Vesta, which is over 300 miles wide. The average person, who knows next to nothing about astronomy, would look at that headline and assume that THE END OF THE WORLD was at hand! But in fact, not only is the rock in question less than 100 feet wide, but it will be almost as far away as the Moon when it zips by. I don't need Hollywood gossip, stock market reports, and lurid headlines about things that have NOTHING to do with the weather. And yet TWC has become less about the weather, and more about personalities and sensationalism.