Posted: 4:06 pm Saturday, January 11th, 2014

The Weather Channel fears losing DirecTV subscribers 

By Rodney Ho

Jim Cantore Reports On Hurricane Irene For The Weather Channel

Jim Cantore is one of the stars on the Weather Channel, which is in danger of being taken off DirecTV January 14. CREDIT: The Weather Channel

Atlanta-based Weather Channel went on the offensive early this morning asking the public to contact Congress if DirecTV decides to drop the channel from its service on January 14.

Why Congress? The Weather Channel is citing this as a “public safety issue” during extreme weather situations.

(Then again, we are now in a world where weather information is readily available on the Weather Channel app and in multiple places on the Web.)

Here’s info the Weather Channel’s press release:

Viewers who are interested in getting involved are encouraged to visit www.keeptheweatherchannel.com. Here, consumers can submit a letter to their Congressional representative and can find a list of Congressional office numbers to call to make their voice heard. Consumers are also encouraged to use social media to get involved with the campaign by sharing the keeptheweatherchannel.com URL, tweeting @directv using the hastag #stormdirectv, and posting on DIRECTV’s Facebook page.

“For DirecTV to take us off their lineup 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,” said David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, parent company of The Weather Channel, in a press release.  “If we are not available to DIRECTV’s 20 million viewers, they will miss the accurate and life-saving information we have been providing for more than 30 years.”

“We have offered the industry’s best rate for our programming and are committed to reaching an agreement,” he added.

DirecTV – which has about 20 million subscribers and is trying to keep its costs down so it won’t have to raise subscription rates as much – said in a statement that it’s trying to figure out “how to provide its service to our customers at the best value since people now use so many other ways to retrieve weather-related information.”

On December 16, 2013, DirecTV added a network called WeatherNation, a competitor to Atlanta-based The Weather Channel, and placed it side by side on the channel dial.

Clearly, DirecTV made this move as leverage. The network said there is no public safety issue because WeatherNation, presumably a cheaper option for DirecTV, can provide weather news as well.

“Customers will continue to get round-the-clock hard weather news, free of any interruptions from reality TV, on Weather Nation,” DirecTV said. (That’s a sly reference to the Weather Channel’s efforts in recent yeares to expand being pure weather coverage with weather-related reality programming such as “Coast Guard Alaska” and “Prospectors.”)

On the other hand, WeatherNation lacks the staff or scope of what the Weather Channel can provide. The Weather Channel recently hired Sam Champion from “Good Morning America” to be its managing editor and morning host.

The Weather Channel charges carriers about 13 cents per subscriber per month, according to consulting firm SNL Kagan, far below networks such as TBS, TNT and ESPN. But its audience size is significantly smaller as well, which may be why DirecTV is playing hardball.

These type of carriage deal negotiations happen all the time but only on occasion become public when the two sides cannot make an agreement by the time contracts are up. Earlier this year, WSB-TV was off the air for 14 hours for Charter subscribers before the two sides came to an agreement.

64 comments
23Zone
23Zone

weather channel---wants a lot more money from direct tv.  direct tv doesn't want to pay it.  weather channel has no options---they will be back, with the same rates.  there are no other outlets for that overrated channel.

Andy123
Andy123

NBC destroyed TWC! 

TheLazyComic
TheLazyComic

Three bad things happened to TWC.   Those 3 things?   N - B - C.   Randy, The Lazy Comic.

ErwinsCat
ErwinsCat

What's it matter, if the storm is bad enough you lose service...so you cant watch the weather channel anyway...as others i'm off grid...antenna and smart tv

MaeBush
MaeBush

The Weather Channel should face the fact that it is losing viewers anyway. It used to be a credible and interesting source of weather information. Now the channel and its website is pandering to adolescents with 'reality' segments, fluff and pictures of insects splayed all over its website. In addition, this totally ridiculous effort to push the naming of winter storms shows that TWC is no longer a serious site. I don' use DirecTV anymore and never will, and I almost never watch TWC. They are equally distasteful.

IrishB
IrishB

I would like to see DirecTV drop TWC.  I dropped DirecTV a few months back due to the ever increasing monthly bill.   I installed an attic antenna and I receive 40+ channels even though I live 50 miles south of Atlanta. Netflix and Amazon allow me to watch what I want when I want to and at a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite.

I might return to pay TV if I can purchase the channels that I want. 

HANK55
HANK55

Hey DavidHoffman, you're a joke too.

HANK55
HANK55

I was sitting in the waiting room at a popular auto repair shop on Saturday about 9 a.m. A bad cloud came up. For you Yankee Americans, a bad cloud is a bad thunderstorm. We were watching ESPN on DirectTV and guess what happened. Yep, no picture, no audio, no nothing. It's just fine with me if DirectTV goes away. They came to my house once and asked me to cut down a tree at a cost of $800 so they could supply TV to my residence. What a joke.

poegoe
poegoe

Who cares? A few years they became a cheer leader for the global warming farce. Another words, they became political. I encourage Direct TV to dump them. Anything owned by NBC is not worth watching besides, who wants to watch Al Roker anyway? The height of their stupidity was naming every cold front that moves across the nation with names such "Hercules". No-one else in the weather community recognizes their naming of winter weather systems. They come off looking like self anointed fools.

chessiemaye
chessiemaye

all the weather channel has is programs about coast gaurd rescues, finding gems, freaks of nature,and a bunch of other crap that has nothing to do with us trying to get the weather.

direct tv has add a new weather station to their line up and they do a lot better job than the weather channel.

this save the weather channel is all about how much money that NBC will not have coming in if they are droped from direct tv. then they wont be able to charge as much for ads. it has nothing to do with getting weather out to the people. it they say it dose than they would not have all the other programs on the air they would have weather forcast 24 hours a day like they had before NBC bought them. drop them is what i say to 

direct tv it is no big loss. i will sucribe back to direct tv if they drop them

darbrednew
darbrednew

It's all about the money, and nothing else

tarly
tarly

Oh, boo-hoo, Weather Channel.  They are no different, and no more needed, than any other channel trying to extract more money from DirecTV, and in turn, the consumer.

I cannot get over how they are owned by NBC, which is carried on WXIA-11, and channel 11.2 is WeatherNation.

And, asking people to write Congress!  Like they aren't meddling in enough, already!

VSAP007
VSAP007

We've got Weather Nation on DirecTV. Weather channel stopped doing weather after NBC bought it. Who doesn't know that. Weather nation is nearly identical to the Weather Channel I first viewed in 1984 in that it is solely focused on...weather! Weather Channel goes away and its only a danger to their ratings nothing more.

DavidHoffman
DavidHoffman

I think Prospectors was the show that has caused this. It is too unrelated to weather science, history, education, or information. One of many things that caused the cost per subscriber to be as high as it is. I predict an agreement that will hold the line on costs, which will ultimately result in the ending of some of the reality programming on The Weather Channel.  The satellite TV providers have got to be tougher than the cable guys because they cannot use profits from telephone and internet service to subsidize the TV services they provide, like the cable system operators do sometimes. I have read that Direct TV wants out of the exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket arangement as it has not been as beneficial to DirecTV as was originally predicted. The NFL benefited, not DirecTV. Content producers are going to have to be much more careful about subsidizing new expanded content by using revenues intended for specific content. The satellite pay TV providers are going to take a harder line about that type of activity. It indicates they are paying you too much, which means the subscribers bills are higher than they would be otherwise. A couple of pennies here, a few nickles there, a quarter over there, and a dollar yonder add up to enough to price differentiate from the cable companies similar offerings. It also can mean a  more efficient and more capable next generation of satellites, satelllite constellations, and ground stations due to better funding than would other wise have occurred.

tgif
tgif

If we are going to write Congress- let's solve the whole cable/sat problem. Let's ask them to support legislation to allow consumers to choose which channel THEY want and will pay for- an al a carte package. 

Only seems fair......pay for what you watch..... a novel idea......

HANK55
HANK55

When is the last time you watched The Weather Channel? I prefer the mainstream news broadcast, like Channels 2, 5 and 11. And I couldn't care less about DirectTV. If the weather is bad, you lose your picture anyway. I just don't understand what the big deal is............

Ulltraman
Ulltraman

I like the show Coast Guard Alaska. Very entertaining. You can't jsut sit in front of the tv and watch the rain come down. local weather on the 8's is good enough. ZIt started out as a fuddy duddy channel for the old people who kept forgetting what the weather was going to be like fo r the day.

michaelmcmahon
michaelmcmahon

I hate to say this, but I told the President of the Weather Channel in 2012 at North Georgia College & State University (now University of North Georgia) at the Mike Cottrell Speaker Series, that many viewers have and are leaving the Weather Channel due to its conversion from 24/7 weather, like it was built on, to a reality TV Channel with minor intrusion by weather information and forecasts.  Based on that alone, they are not even worth the 13 cents.  Dr. John Hope (one of the founders of the Weather Channel) has to have rolled over in his grave so much, that there should be a hole in the casket!  

Wayne_stuck_in_AL
Wayne_stuck_in_AL

Trust me, you don't want WeatherNation.  The last time I saw it (2012), it looked like something from 1992.


Believe it or not, WeatherNation  was actually on an over-the-air train-wreck of a channel in the Montgomery TV market and it was a sorry excuse of a channel, and I can't believe TWC gets only 13 cents/subscriber.


That being said, I'm not crazy about TWC's foray into "Dude" (reality) programming.  Too much stuff that should be on National Geographic or Discovery (the OLD Discovery Channel).

TommyYoung
TommyYoung

TWC has been so far removed from airing the weather it isn't funny. They were at their best 20-30 years ago. Cantore has a major ego to feed. I have DirecTv... I say let them go, maybe my rates will go down.

Hammond Bethree
Hammond Bethree

I have DirecTV and was surprised recently to see "Weathernation" next to "Weather Channel" on the guide.  One glance at WN and that was the end for WC for the simple reason that WN reports the weather, period.  WC fills its airtime with everything but.  Congress?  Please.  Same as Discovery which used to show nature shows but switched to Amish ice road mafia honey boo boo gold rush weapons of war garbage.  And I haven't watched CNN once since AlJazeera America simply started reporting the news.  I don't miss WeatherChannel, Discovery, or CNN one iota.  America is all about competition and management ran each of those channels quickly into the ground. 

Bulldawgz
Bulldawgz

I have always enjoyed watching the weather channel, but I will have to say that losing it would pose little of a safety issue to viewers.  The vast majority of their programming seems to be everything but current weather conditions around the nation.  Most of the country could either be blown, washed, frozen, or washed away before information regarding local weather happenings are televised.  Instead, film documentaries continually run on this station in lieu of very much current weather info, certainly making  "The Weather Channel" a misnomer.

FarTrain
FarTrain

I noticed today that the WC with their new setup has the screen cluttered with way too much information. The bottom and the right side all have facts and numbers for everything from A to Z.  As my mom used to say "it's way too busy".  The picture has been squeezed as if it's nothing more than an afterthought now.

East Cobb Snob
East Cobb Snob

I have DirecTV and recently nuked The Weather Channel off of my favorites list.  Wayyy too many instances of wanting to check the weather before I fly out or go to work, etc.  What's on?  Some crappy lifestyle show as usual.  Note to management over there: Stop letting your sales dept run the place.  My bet is that's what is going on.  Cheaper to drop those programs on tv than pay on-camera talent.  Don't make the MTV mistake guys.  By the way, I agree on that winter storm-naming, it's kinda lame.  Bring back the gauges and panning camera! Hehehehe.  Wow, that *was* a few adult beverages ago :-)

WillJacobs
WillJacobs

Who still watches the Weather Channel? Good riddance. Two things I didn't like about them recently, naming Winter Storms and trying to get money from the government for a new headquarters. They need to wake up soon and realize they're not ESPN!

Courtney2
Courtney2

I haven't watched the Weather Channel in a decade.  I would like a Weather channel that shows weather, a News Channel that shows news, and a Music Channel that plays music.  Currently I have none of these options. 

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

As far as the laugher that they offer a public service.  When storms are near, local stations beat the reporting with a king size baseball bat, with nonstop reporting of every indicator from their zingzang radars and on-the-spot reporting.  They will even tell you when hail and a downdraft will hit Tinkleberry Lane in Barrow County.

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

As far as channels/networks venturing from what they originally were...anybody remember when the Discovery Channel had nothing but shows about comets, wildlife, volcanoes and such?  Last time I checked (I don't have cable or satellite btw) it was nothing but sensationalist junk that had nothing to do with nature or science.

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

Who cares?  Actually giving accurate weather forecasts were never the W.C's strong points.

brokenknuckle275
brokenknuckle275

Does the weather channel broadcast weather?   I will not miss them at. With satellite tv you do not get the weather  warnings that scroll in red across the screen like cable and the radar is regional area not the metro area.. I have weather bug on my smart phone and they do an outstanding job.

Informer
Informer

I am done with cable, and sat. I can get sixty some channels on an antenna.

OuterPerimeter
OuterPerimeter

The Weather Channel was much more useful when it was a bunch of  gauges that a camera panned constantly.

FarTrain
FarTrain

The weather channel is making the same mistake as CNN.  That is, getting away from what got them to where they are today.  CNN is getting away from news all the time and doing more off-the-subject programming while the weather channel is getting away from real weather info and showing "junk" shows. They both have lower ratings than they use to have.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@tgif 

Makes too much sense; therefore, Congress won't consider it.

DavidHoffman
DavidHoffman

@HANK55 The big deal is satellite pay TV providers resisting content producers over per subscriber price increases. Content producers who may have thought they were immune to such scrutiny, like TWC, are finding out they ae not. The satellite TV companies want to remain competitive in price compared to the cable and telephone companies offerings for TV. The satellite companies cannot subsidize TV operations from profitable internet service or telephone service like the cable and telephone companies can. 

MaeBush
MaeBush

@Ulltraman

You need a different moniker, and you sound like the sort who would probably enjoy 24-7 viewing of the Kardashians. Yep, you sound like a real thinker who enjoys shows with substance. Maybe you should use the prefix 'ultra' because you 'keep forgetting' your real name--'lessthana'.

kayman
kayman

@Wayne_stuck_in_AL Uh yeah, that was before WeatherNation was added to the Direct TV line up at channel 361.  Additionally, what occurs in Montgomery doesn't apply nationwide.  

MaeBush
MaeBush

@Wayne_stuck_in_AL

What is wrong with 1992? I liked that year a lot better than the present.

MaeBush
MaeBush

@Bulldawgz

True, and they keep getting more outrageous and out of it all the time. They recently hired that skinny guy who looks and dresses like PeeWee Herman. What is that about? They have 'reality' shows, MSNBC and really pale women dressed in really dark dresses that make them look like vampires. They put Jim Cantore on a sunny beach with a little rain and a breeze and have him pretending to be in the middle of a Cat 5. They not only behave like idiots, they think their viewers are fools.

FarTrain
FarTrain

@brokenknuckle275  Yep, like WeatherBug too.  Got them front and center on my google chrome and go to that first if I want to check the weather. Gives a quick and accurate synopsis.

WillJacobs
WillJacobs

@FarTrain Agreed with CNN. Sometime early in the last decade, they got really corporate and started going younger with their anchors and the quality really suffered.  It's a shadow of what it used to be.

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

@FarTrainCNN's Anthony Bourdain show brings in much higher ratings than they typically draw with regular news.