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.