DirecTV has replaced The Weather Channel with WeatherNation. The change stemmed from an ongoing dispute over fees. While The Weather Channel has requested an increase, DirecTV is pushing for a 20 percent reduction.
In an official statement, DirecTV argued that The Weather Channel no longer provides straight weather coverage. In recent years, the channel has added documentaries, educational segments, and “reality show clutter.” According to the statement, WeatherNation will provide subscribers with “around-the-clock, 100 percent weather news and information.”
Although the negotiations have lasted weeks without resolution, Weather Channel CEO David Kenny was stunned by the blackout. He said DirecTV has “put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day.” Kelly said a one cent increase per subscriber is “a fair deal,” which would fund scientific research and development.
As reported by the Washington Post, Kenny said the blackout is unfair and unprecedented:
“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… “
Kenny criticizes WeatherNation as a “cheap startup,” which relies on taped forecasts. He said there is little or no field coverage and the forecasters are amateurs. In contrast, he said The Weather Channel provides “industry-recognized experts,” which are more likely to provide safe, accurate, and informative, forecasts.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the blackout will likely “have an immediate impact” on The Weather Channel. However, they could lose far more by accepting reduced fees. If they accept a reduction in fees from DirecTV, other providers my expect the same. The total loss could be devastating.
Although DirecTV said The Weather Channel blackout may be temporary, it will likely remain in effect until an agreement is reached. Until then, WeatherNation is available on Channel 362.
[Image via Wikipedia]