Weather Channel returning to DirecTV, cutting back reality programming

After a protracted, bitter contract dispute between The Weather Channel and DirecTV, the feuding parties have a struck deal. Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, The Weather Channel will return to DirecTV’s line-up.

As part of the new agreement between the parties, The Weather Channel will reduce the amount of reality programming by half on weekdays.

DirecTV had dropped The Weather Channel on January 14 when the sides failed to reach agreement on carriage fees for the  Atlanta-based weather network.  The Weather Channel had asked for a one penny per subscriber payment increase which DirecTV rejected.

The Weather Channel then launched a high profile campaign, even appealing to Congress, to pressure DirecTV to restore the network.  It claimed serving an indispensable role in protecting life and property and purchased large ads in major newspapers blasting DirecTV for removing it.

“I think [DirecTV] made a gross miscalculation in how much people value The Weather Channel,” said Weather Company CEO David Kenny, parent to The Weather Channel, during the dispute. “Sooner or later viewers will demand The Weather Channel on DirecTV or they’ll switch.”

DirecTV countered The Weather Channel placed too much emphasis on reality programming and that consumers could obtain vital weather information from smart phones and their local news.

“Our customers tell us The Weather Channel is their fourth choice when looking to access weather information,” Direct TV CEO Mike White said in a letter to customers during the dispute. “They first turn to mobile devices and computers for instant weather information and then to local news sources that have a better grasp on local conditions.”

As part of the new agreement, the Wall Street Journal reports DirecTV will give The Weather Channel a small raise. “DirecTV agreed to a small increase in the fees it pays to Weather Channel, although the increase will be less than the penny a subscriber a month the channel wanted,” it says.

Both parties expressed remorse for the public battle waged and interruption in service.

“Our apologies to DIRECTV and their customers for the disruption of our service and for initiating a public campaign,” said The Weather Channel’s Kenny, in a press release today. “Our viewers deserve better than a public dispute and we pledge to reward their loyalty with exceptional programming and more weather focused news.”

“It’s a shame these disputes are played out on a public stage, but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to work together with The Weather Channel in a way that will benefit everyone,” said Dan York, DIRECTV’s chief content officer. “I know this was frustrating for many of our customers, but their patience was ultimately rewarded with a better deal and a better product.”

Related:

Weather Channel shaking off DirecTV dispute, focusing on future

Soul searching time for The Weather Channel

Weather wars: DirecTV drops Weather Channel, AccuWeather to add channel

DirecTV dispute: Is Weather Channel trying to have it both ways?

Weather Channel urging viewers to pressure DirecTV not to drop network

Weather Channel snags Sam Champion from ABC

The Weather Channel is getting back to weather, sort of

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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