The Weather Channel was pulled by DirecTV. Twenty million subscribers lost their access to the channel when contract negotiations came to an end on Tuesday. Disputes arose over pricing between the Weather Channel and the satellite provider.
As the Monday midnight deadline drew closer, the two companies continued to place blame, but no agreement was made by the time the deadline passed.
David Kenny, CEO of The Weather Co., parent company to the Weather Channel, stated DirecTV was offered the best price for the programming. He went on to accuse DirecTV of placing public safety behind profits. Kenny said The Weather Channel was not looking to increase profits and fees, but just a square deal that allowed the channel to investment in high quality, advanced scientific technology so the channel can continue to bring subscribers what they have come to expect from the Weather Channel.
The CEO explained in the past 32 years, the Weather Channel has never had a disruption so significant over an inability to reach an agreement with a carrier.
In the past, when providers and distributors battled over fee arrangements, subscribers were warned that a blackout of their favorite channels would be an inconvenience. However, The Weather Channel is saying this blackout will be dangerous.
The channel has tried to get their subscribers on the bandwagon by reminding customers a lack of information during a severe storm could be serious. The channel provides a port in the storm should severe weather arise.
DirecTV, the largest satellite provider in the U.S. sees the necessity to pull The Weather Channel as disappointing, but has replaced the Weather Channel with Weather Nation, a 24-hour weather channel.
Dan York, DirecTV chief content officer stated the negotiations have not ended; the companies are still talking. York said DirecTV is eager to return The Weather Channel to the line-up, but at the best value to their subscribers. The Weather Channel has not made a comment.
While the Weather Channel officials will not comment on the negotiations, they have continued to urge subscribers to get involved. David Clark, president of The Weather Channel, requested viewers to contact their Congress people and ask for help in settling the dispute.
The Weather Channel is part of NBC Universal and is owned by the country’s largest cable provider, Comcast Corporation. Clark commented the channel operates to make a profit, like most companies do, but that goes hand-in-hand with servicing the customers by providing up to the minute accurate forecasts.
Robert Mercer, DirecTV spokesman said the provider introduced Weather Nation in response to customer concerns regarding the necessity of an ongoing weather channel, minus the vast amount of reality shows The Weather Channel has launched. These shows that interrupt weather forecasts.
In a public announcement, DirecTV stated customer complaints about the Weather Channel’s new programing choices weighed heavily on their decision to cut the channel. Reality television shows now comprise more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel programming, severely cutting into time devoted to providing customers with up to date forecasting.
Weather forecasts and severe weather alerts are available from numerous network affiliates, local stations, and smartphone applications along with a wide array of online sources. People seeking weather information do not have to look far to get it, another reason why The Weather Channel was pulled by DirecTV.
By Deborah Baran
The Weather Channel