The Weather Channel may dominate the troposphere, but it no longer controls another big part of the earth’s atmosphere -- the portion utilized by satellite TV operator DirecTV. At 12:01 this morning, the network announced it is no longer available on DirecTV, following a terse carriage dispute.
“In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement,” David Kenny, chairman-CEO of the network’s parent, The Weather Co., said in a statement released early this morning.
The Weather Channel described its offer as a “market-based carriage deal,” but did not disclose details.
“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,” Kenny noted, adding: “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.”
Noting that DirecTV has been increasing its “customer rates by 4%,” Kenny played the fear card, asserting that DirecTV was “trading safety for increased profits,” because DirecTV was replacing The Weather Channel with a “cheap start-up that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts.”
That start-up, Weather Nation, was officially launched in 2011, but initially started as “The Weather Cast,” a fill-in weather channel that replaced The Weather Channel for four days during a carriage dispute with Dish Network in May 2010.
Kenny called DirecTV’s move “reckless,” asserting The Weather Channel’s “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.”