App And Web Use Diminishing Weather Channel's TV Value, DirecTV Claims

In one of the first signs that the mobile app ecosystem may be impinging on the TV economy, DirecTV executives are claiming that The Weather Channel is losing viewers to mobile and Web platforms. The satellite provider is requesting more than a 20% reduction in the fee TWC charges for carriage, according to a report in, and the contract dispute has led to a blackout of the channel on DirecTV since Monday. DirecTV Chief Content Officer Dan York is quoted in the piece saying: “People are increasingly getting their weather info on demand on their devices, whether it’s or apps,” and this is devaluing the linear TV presence.



Nielsen reports that TWC's TV audience has declined by 19% since 2011, but comScore reports its online audience continues to expand, now up to over 89 million monthly uniques. In the WSJ piece TWC CEO David Kenny contests the satellite provider's argument by insisting people still turn to TV during times of extreme weather. Still, TWC was asking DirecTV for an increase in its fee of one cent per subscriber per month, according to the report.

In its report on mobile media brand reach for November 2013, comScore reported that Weather Channel properties reached 33.4% of the smartphone-owning population in the U.S., making it the 14th-most-popular media brand in mobile. Its smartphone app alone achieves a reach of 22.9%.

Increasingly, TWC TV programming has focused on longer form reality and documentary programming rather than its traditional weather coverage. As for the apps, many of the most meaningful breaking weather news features from TV have become prominent on the phone. Local video updates, for instance, are featured in the Weather Channel app. 

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