20 Million Households May Lose The Weather Channel Tonight

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Update: As of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, The Weather Channel is no longer being carried by DirecTV. 

As many as 20 million television households may lose access to The Weather Channel at midnight due to a dispute over carriage fees between the network and satellite operator DirecTV. The distribution agreement between the two parties expires at midnight, and The Weather Channel has gone on the offensive to try to rally viewers in its support.

In an interview, The Weather Channel CEO David Kenny said the channel was seeking an increase in its carriage fee, the money cable and satellite operators pay television channels to broadcast their content, of one cent per subscriber per month. Kenny says DirecTV wanted to instead cut the channel’s fees “precipitously.” DirecTV chief content officer Dan York said those details were not accurate and that The Weather Channel was seeking for its price to go up “substantially.” Currently The Weather Channel commands an average of 13 cents per subscriber per month from pay-TV operators, according to estimates from SNL Kagan.

Now seemingly at an impasse with DirecTV, The Weather Channel is trying to use public pressure as leverage for a better carriage rate. The channel, which is owned by NBCUniversal, launched an online campaign this weekend urging people to call DirecTV and even their Congressmen to demand that the channel remain on air. The channel’s executives have cast the conflict as a public safety issue, arguing that The Weather Channel relays life-saving information through its storm updates and local weather coverage. So far, the network says its Keep the Weather Channel site has logged more than 700,000 unique visits and more than 180,000 calls have been initiated either to DirecTV or Congressional officials.

DirecTV, though, argues that The Weather Channel’s relevance is increasingly diminished with weather information now available from a variety of apps, websites and TV stations. “Consumers are increasingly getting their weather information from other sources,” York says. “We seriously doubt The Weather Channel are the only ones who can report on the weather.”

To prove that fact, DirecTV recently launched its own weather network, called Weather Nation, which offers both national weather coverage and local forecasts around the clock. DirecTV has pledged that the channel will be focused squarely on covering the weather, a swipe at the increasing amount of reality television programming in The Weather Channel’s schedule, like Highway Through Hell and Prospectors. The satellite operator is also hoping that local weather updates from the 1,400 broadcast stations it carries will help fill in the gap for lost Weather Channel coverage.

The Weather Channel has made no secret of its attempts to expand its content to a broader audience. On weather.com, pageviews for content besides weather forecasts doubled to 2.5 billion views in 2013 thanks to a focus on ginning up viral stories and photo slideshows tangentially related to the weather. And the company’s decision to begin naming winter storms, which has not been endorsed by the National Weather Service, has gained traction with the broader public, often leading to trending topics on Twitter.

Kenny says these types of moves don’t detract from The Weather Channel’s core mission of informing the public during significant weather events. By framing the carriage dispute as a public safety issue, he’s making a big bet that the work The Weather Channel does can’t be easily duplicated.  “It’s naive to say that commodity weather forecasts and other forms are gong to work,” he says. “That might work on some days but it doesn’t work on the days that really matter, which is when lives are at stake and property is at stake.”

24 comments
pyles
pyles

direct tv an the weather ch,they should have worked out a soloution,to the problem,older perple like my dad,watch the weather ch all the time,he is very disapointed with direct tv,he is thinking about,switching to someone else

pyles
pyles

why isn't there another weather ch.that direct tv can use.because people need a weather ch.older people,like my dad,watch the weather ch,all the time,he is very disapointed in direct tv,

pucebuzzard
pucebuzzard

Weather Chanel should go. I wish Comcast would drop them too, and replace them with something Weather Nation. This because Weather Chanel isn't showing a lot of weather anymore... They are showing a lot of "shows" instead.

AbbigailWinters
AbbigailWinters

I agree! The Weather Channel has gone slightly overboard by turning their weather reporting into a larger than life Mickey Mouse reality show, even giving storms silly names like Nemo and Hercules, yet WeatherNation is so pure and simple it puts me to sleep! Come on guys, there has to be a happy median somewhere over the Carriage Fee rainbow! lol!

KevinKratka
KevinKratka

I remember the good ole days when the weather channel actually covered weather all day. Now days they have so many "shows" that when I want to watch the weather...it's not there! PLUS...and this really gets my goat....PLUS they sensationalize everything! It's FOX got in bed with them or something. I'm perfectly content getting my forecast online, after all, most people these days appear to be well connected in that way. Bye bye TWC! 

scottwilson261
scottwilson261

IT`S ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY----I ENJOY THE WEATHER CHANNEL WHEN THERES NOT MUCH ELSE TO WATCH WHICH IS A LOT OF TIMES................

PeterPorroKlinger
PeterPorroKlinger

I have internet, I can look at Weather Underground or a dozen other sources. The local stations DTV have weather, 24 hours. BUT... The Weather Channel has the best reports and I like their entertainment shows to fill in the repeating, non-urgent weather reports. It's more than just weather! It's information.

When there is weather related news or a storm warning, they cover in depth and with features and news. That's what makes TWC valuable and different from the rest.

Maybe if TWC goes direct streaming on the Internet and people discover they don't need DirectTV anymore, DirectTV could wake up and find themselves in a Blockbuster moment. See Ya!

phoenix1920
phoenix1920

I like the new direction TWC has been taking.  And I rely on them a lot during hurricane season.  DirecTV seems to making an odd choice--so much publicity over how THEY don't rate increases but they want their customers to accept rate increases.  Makes it feel like the current rate increase is not because their costs are increasing but because they want more profits.  I had been considering changing to DirecTV, but have reconsidered.

analyzerlxe
analyzerlxe

I like the weather channel. The weather channel can create a channel for its shows, while having the original focus with forecasts and current weather. The market will decide if directv made the right decision. I personally would not deal with a rate increase and stripping of channels at the same time, seems as if they think their customers can't put 2+2 together! At the end greed will prevail.

Bullsgt
Bullsgt

Run an experiment in your house. Disconnect the TV, cable, dish and do something else for one month.  Then compare your quality of life and the money in your wallet to a month earlier.


I got tired of dealing with raising fees, paying for channels I don't watch, poor customer service, repetitive moronic commercials, on-screen pop-ups that cover a third of the screen and programming that is.. well pathetic. 



Jillxz
Jillxz

I hope Directv takes off that part-time weather channel .  I won't miss it.  There are many other sources for the weather today. 


anorr
anorr

This is terrible. What will I do. I won't know the weather. Ah. wait. Nevermind.

fiero1951
fiero1951

Dish made this same mistake when they got rid of AMC and lost a lot of subscribers do to a stupid mistake

sandijo614
sandijo614

I LIKE DIRECT TV BETTER THAN CABLE, BUT THE WEATHER CHANNEL IS ONE OF THE MOST VIEWED  CHANNELS IN OUR HOME.  NO WEATHER CHANNEL AND I WILL BE MOVING ON TO SOMEONE ELSE.

KelliRobinson
KelliRobinson

Mighty funny I just got an email from DirectTV a few days before this issue came out that my rates are increasing.  I also found it interesting that during the Blizzard last week I couldn't get hardly any channels (including The Weather Channel) on my TV, but I did get the WeatherNation Channel...........Makes you go Hmmmmm.  I smell a rat.  I like my DirectTV over other cable providers, but these rate increases are BS......Please don't make me pick Comcast back up I beg you......cause I will if you're dropping channels and increasing my rates

fyrestar
fyrestar

They are going to lose a lot more than that if the don't stop preempting one of their regularly scheduled programs, "Prospectors", to inform us that it is raining in Florida and snowing in the Dakota's, Michigan, and Minnesota...well duh, that's what happens in these states in the winter. It would be MORE newsworthy if it wasn't. A huge number of people have been watching the Weather Channel for the last 2 years for one reason and one reason only.... the Prospectors program. It has helped to raise their ratings, but now without even changing the scheduling, they are back to the repetitive forcasts throughout the day. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!! They better remember where their improved ratings have come from. Guess we need to get a petition together to have the National Geographic Channel pick up this program since they are ignoring their viewers!! 

MineGotInHimmel
MineGotInHimmel

As long as it doesn't raise my rates, then fine, go ahead and negotiate. As it stands though, I haven't turned on TWC in 10 years, so could really care less if they go away.


Local stations and the internet provide much better reports than TWC has for as long as I remember, and now hearing that they run Reality TV makes me want to turn them on even less than before.

calvin1
calvin1

During a bad storm my TV usually shows.....a blank screen and the note..."searching for signal on satellite ***".

During a severe storm my electricity goes out.

The weather channel doesn't do me any good if I cant see it, or if they are showing a TV show.

Thank Goodness I have a battery powered NOAA weather alert radio.

Perrybucsdad
Perrybucsdad

I think this should be called "Carriage fee dispute Arlene" since TWC loves to name their storms to create drama.


Don't get me wrong, I like having the weather channel, but they do show way too much "other" programming which is not relevant.  Stick to what you are there for (weather information) and leave the reality shows to channels dedicated to that kind of stuff, like MTV, oh wait... didn't they used to do Music Videos way back when?

trainbuff
trainbuff

@KevinKratka Weather Channel used to be good before they started all those reality shows.  What crap!!  There are many other ways to find the weather including the new weather channel on Direct TV.  I hope Direct TV does not give in to them.

Yoshi
Yoshi

@JillxzI agree, completely. I use the NOAA forecast and their trove of data. It's available at my fingertips wherever I am, whenever I want. Maybe DTV will replace them with something more worthwhile, like dead air!

Jillxz
Jillxz

@KelliRobinson All cable and Satellite companies increase their rates.  They all gouge the customers and the customers just come right back. Customers just keep right on being customers.  They will continue to raise rates .  Always have and always will.  All of them , not just Directv.  At least Directv does add channels along the way.

fyrestar
fyrestar

@Perrybucsdad Sorry, but if it was only their regular programing they would already be off of Direct TV AND Dish!! The other programming is what pays the bills and they need to remember that.