The Weather Channel ratings showed improvement despite all the troubles the network has faced since being dropped by satellite provider DirecTV. The Atlanta based network lost one-fifth of its subscribers for about half the month of January after it couldn’t agree on a price tag to stay in DirectTV’s line-up.
On January 13, DirecTV dumped TWC from its programming and replaced it with the much smaller viewership channel Weathernation.
The aftermath has been acrimonious, and at times plain mean as everyone has an opinion one way or another. However, on the day customers of the satellite provider were to receive notifications of price hikes for the coming year, The Weather Channel had a bit of revenge.
According to data collected by the audience measurement company Nielsen Ratings, The Weather Channel averaged 236,000 viewers during the month — a four percent increase from January 2013. TWC also improved its delivery among persons 25 to 54 by eight percent to 82,000 of those watchers. Officials at Nielsen also said the time-spent viewing metric grew 11 percent compared to the same period last year.
This comes as welcome news for The Weather Channel since even with the loss of thousand of DirecTV customers, the channel has been able to increase viewership.
For readers who are new to this story, here is how the dispute began. The deal between the network and satellite provider was set to expire on December 31, 2013, but it was extended for an additional two weeks in hopes that an agreement could be reached. A very public back and forth ensued, with both sides trying to defend their position in front of their customers, and in the process, drawing national attention to their conflict.
Many see The Weather Channel as the villain, who just wants to jack prices for viewers while others think DirecTV is keeping loyal subscribers from getting important weather updates on the latest winter systems bearing down on the US.
In a statement, David Clark, president of The Weather Channel, said:
“Despite the loss of 20 million DirecTV subscribers, we experienced impressive year-over-year growth in January. What DirecTV has completely misunderstood is that during storms, people turn first, second and third to their televisions, and that for better or worse, demand for our deep, round-the-clock, expert storm coverage is increasing.”
Others argue that in today’s world, social media is just as effective in relaying life saving information to communities all over the US as watching The Weather Channel.
Over on Twitter, many users think that naming winter storms — a la hurricanes or typhoons — is just a maneuver by The Weather Channel to improve ratings.
— Karl Hanson (@KarlBHanson3) February 2, 2014
Whom do you rely on for your weather information; network television, cable TV or social media? More importantly, who do you think is to blame for this very public feud, TWC OR DirecTV?