When The Carriage Deal Includes Telling Your Cable Network Exactly How To Program

Cable operators having the power to tell cable networks exactly what programming they should run on their networks? That would be a rare thing.

But some would say that’s what DirecTV got from the Weather Channel in its new carriage deal.

During its protracted battle, the Weather Channel was off DirecTV for almost three months. DirecTV wanted less reality programming -- which will mean fewer dramatic docu-tales of tornados, ice storms, and crazy climate change. Under the new deal, DirecTV says: “The Weather Channel agreed to reduce reality programming by half on weekdays” and return instant local weather segments.

I’m wondering how many times has a pay TV distributor struck a deal with a cable TV network for specific programming type, as well as number of shows it would run.

So should DirecTV -- and perhaps other pay TV providers -- also demand Bravo do fewer “Real Housewives” spinoffs? Should DirecTV ask ESPN to run fewer “SportsCenters”?



DirecTV may be looking at the Weather Channel with a different eye, seeing it as a “utility” cable network that needs to provide viewers with the weather basics and not much else.

Still, maybe Comcast, Dish Network, and Charter like those reality-weather-related Weather Channel shows. What if they wanted more of them?

For decades, TV station network affiliates have moaned over specific prime-time programming directions that their TV networks have taken. But those programming choice weren't linked to a specific affiliate station deal.

Cable channels were able to totally change not just their  programming but their entire network operations. Some more recent transformations: Oprah Winfrey Network (from Discovery Health); Esquire Network (from Style); Fox Sports 1 (from Speed). Typically TV distributors needed to give the go-ahead for such major changes -- which for the most part are agreed to.

Cable networks can sell the point that these shifts will mean higher viewership,  as well as the possibility that TV distributors can sell local advertising spots for new and better programming.

What DirecTV says The Weather Channel agreed to may be only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe next time around, pay TV providers will ink carriage deals not just with programming deal points, but specific ratings results.

1 comment about "When The Carriage Deal Includes Telling Your Cable Network Exactly How To Program ".
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  1. Edmund Singleton from Winstion Communications, April 23, 2014 at 5:40 a.m.

    Will someday someone ask for more sex in their programing?

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