The Weather Channel Is No Longer Available on DirecTV
The Weather Channel will no longer be available on DirecTV, which has refused to come to an agreement on a market-based carriage deal.
A statement from David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, was released Monday night. He said he was "shocked" the satellite TV provider has "put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day."
According to Kenny, The Weather Channel was "simply looking for a fair deal" and not "a large fee increase," later elaborating that "this is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DirecTV customers at risk."
Calling DirecTV's move "reckless," Kenny stressed the network's importance as a public utility to the 20 million DirecTV customers, reiterating what network president David Clark and new hire Sam Champion said Jan. 11 during winter Television Critics Association press tour.
DirecTV's chief content officer Dan York responded to The Weather Channel's charges in a Monday statement, contending that much of the network's programming isn't devoted to weather coverage and forecasts.
"Consumers understand there are now a variety of other ways to get weather coverage, free of reality show clutter, and that The Weather Channel does not have an exclusive on weather coverage -- the weather belongs to everyone," the DirecTV exec said. "Most consumers don’t want to watch a weather information channel with a forecast of a 40 percent chance of reality TV. So with that in mind, we are in the process of discussing an agreement to return the network to our lineup at the right value for our customers."
Days before The Weather Channel was made unavailable to DirecTV customers, the two parties traded barbs as the 12:01 a.m. Jan. 14 deadline loomed. At the time, Kenny said losing the network would be "deeply irresponsible to its customers, who not only count on The Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events."
A day later, DirecTV issued its own statement, diminishing The Weather Channel's declaration that it was a trusted breaking weather news source, saying that instead it devotes time to "reality television shows." DirecTV made a point to note that an alternative weather channel, Weather Nation, was available to subscribers.
Read the full Weather Channel statement below.
"This is unprecedented for The Weather Channel. In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement. We offered DirecTV the best rate for our programming, and I am shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day. We are not looking for a large fee increase. We are simply looking for a fair deal that allows our company to continue to invest in the science and technology that enables us to keep people safe, deliver the world’s best weather, and tell weather stories to help people be prepared and informed.
At a time when DirecTV has increased customer rates by 4 percent, they are trading safety for increased profits and replacing the experience and expertise of The Weather Channel with a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts -- certainly not any on par with The Weather Channel network’s industry-recognized experts like tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes and winter weather expert Tom Niziol -- and no experience in severe weather emergencies. This is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DirecTV customers at risk.
This reckless move by DirecTV will have an impact on our role as part of the national safety and preparedness fabric of our country at a time when the volatility and frequency of weather events seems to be increasing. The Weather Channel partners with humanitarian and emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels. We help people prepare before storms, stay safe during their effects, and find help afterward. If the network is not available to viewers, the effectiveness of these partnerships, which help make us a more weather ready nation, are jeopardized. I am hopeful DirecTV will come to their senses soon and will not force their customers to change carriers to stay safe and informed."