×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Weather Channel Pulled from DirecTV

Weather Channel goes dark on satcaster, the first major outage in the network's 32-year history

DirecTV is no longer carrying the Weather Channel after the two sides were unable to reach a deal — which the cable network said is the first major blackout in its 32-year history.

In a statement, David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Co., said the situation was “unprecedented.”

“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 said. “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.”

The Weather Channel, formed in 1982, previously had been available to about 100 million pay-TV households. DirecTV, with 20 million U.S. subscribers, reduces the network’s reach substantially.

DirecTV chief content officer Dan York called the loss of Weather Channel was “regrettable,” but said in a statement, “Consumers understand there are now a variety of other ways to get weather coverage, free of reality show clutter, and that The Weather Channel does not have an exclusive on weather coverage — the weather belongs to everyone.”

According to DirecTV, more than 40% of The Weather Channel’s programming is dedicated to reality television shows, such “Coast Guard Alaska,” “Hawaii Air Rescue,” “Highway Thru Hell,” “Hurricane Hunters,” “Lifeguard!” and “Prospectors.”

Weather Channel did not say what fee it was asking for, but Kenny indicated it was 1 cent per subscriber per month above the current rate. Weather Channel carriage fees for pay-TV providers average 13 cents per subscriber monthly, according to SNL Kagan.

The Weather Channel’s previous carriage agreement with DirecTV expired on Dec. 31, 2013, but the companies had extended it to midnight Eastern on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Last Saturday, the Weather Co. launched a PR campaign warning viewers that DirecTV could drop the network and urging them to contact the satellite operator as well as congressional representatives to complain.

The satcaster recently launched WeatherNation on channel 361, one position away from Weather Channel at 362. (DirecTV now lists WeatherNation in both channel positions.) The new channel, DirecTV said, provides “round-the-clock hard weather news, free of any interruptions from reality TV.”

Kenny referred to DirecTV’s 2014 price hikes, which will increase subscriber bills an average of 3.7% in February. “At a time when DirecTV has increased customer rates by 4%, they are trading safety for increased profits and replacing the experience and expertise of The Weather Channel with a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts… and no experience in severe weather emergencies,” Kenny said.

DirecTV also said customers can obtain local weather coverage on 1,400 local broadcast TV stations, and added that its emergency channels provide urgent info during severe weather.

The Weather Co., based in Atlanta, is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal and private-equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. 

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show premiere,

    Amazon Prime Video Signs Distribution Deal With Altice Europe (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Prime Video has unveiled its first distribution deal with a telco in France, signing a pact with Altice Europe, which owns leading French internet, mobile and cable-TV provider SFR. The deal will give SFR customers access to the service via their set-top boxes, which is crucial in France, where households still consume content mostly [...]

  • Courtney Kemp Agboh'Power' TV show final

    'Power' Creator Courtney A. Kemp On Why Starz Series Hasn't Gotten Awards Recognition

    “Power” is a top ratings performer for Starz and has a hugely committed fanbase, but the series has lacked in its awards recognition. Other than honors from the NAACP Image Awards, “Power” has not received any awards or nominations from the Emmys, Golden Globes or SAG — something that star and executive producer Curtis “50 [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Breaking Bad

    'Breaking Bad' Movie Release Date, Title and Plot Revealed

    The “Breaking Bad” movie is coming to Netflix sooner than you might think. The film, titled “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” is now set to be released on Netflix on Oct. 11, according to a report from the New York Times, with Aaron Paul returning as the series’ popular meth cook Jesse Pinkman. Jesse [...]

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers on Disney, Spinoffs

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Potential Disney Spinoffs, Confirm Apu Will Remain

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content