UPDATE, 2:05 p.m.: DirecTV sent us the following statement:
We remain in discussions with The Weather Channel on 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. We launched WeatherNation (DIRECTV channel 361) as an alternative to provide 24/7 hard news weather coverage in response to numerous customer complaints that more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel’s programming is dedicated to reality television shows. DIRECTV also offers city-by-city weather coverage on more than 1,400 local broadcast stations and on DIRECTV’s emergency channels in times of severe weather.
From 12:57 p.m.: The Weather Channel, less than 3 days from potentially being dropped by satellite carrier DirectTV, is asking its viewers for help. The Atlanta network has launched the Web site “keeptheweatherchannel.com” in hopes that public pressure will convince DirecTV to continue carrying its weather coverage.
For weeks, The Weather Channel and DirecTV have been embroiled in contract talks and have not reached resolution. If an agreement is not reached by 12:01 a.m. Tuesday (ET), The Weather Channel will go off the air for DirecTV subscribers.
The Weather Channel, stressing the role it plays in providing public safety information, is advising its viewers to contact DirecTV and members of Congress about the indispensable role it plays, hoping such pressure might resolve the dispute.
“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. As the most trusted source of weather news and information in America, The Weather Channel is there when it matters most. 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,” said David Kenny, The Weather Channel’s CEO.
The KeepTheWeatherChannel.com Web site features meteorologist Jim Cantore, delivering a forceful message about the importance of the network.
Perhaps as a strategy to leverage its position in contract negotiations, DirecTV added WeatherNation – a Denver-based TV forecasting outlet – a few weeks ago to its lineup. WeatherNation is a much smaller operation than The Weather Channel with fewer resources. However, it is solely focused on providing straight weather coverage, rather than The Weather Channel’s inclusion of taped programs and documentaries, sometimes referred to “weathertainment,” in its programming.
Here’s a sample of reactions to news of The Weather Channel-DirecTV dispute on Twitter:
@capitalweather TWC is useless. Once they were great to follow out of state weather emergencies. Now they don't even bother.
— kdawg (@kdawg0113) January 11, 2014
— Mary Ailes (@BabyBlueAnglica) January 11, 2014
.@capitalweather maybe they should just encourage people to drop DirecTV since they're always threatening to drop networks.
— Terry Carter (@Districtopia) January 11, 2014
@Capitalweather TWC is the best even the new channel they added a few weeks ago doesnt have the expert analysis that TWC does. Fix this …
— Doug Hill (@DougHillFOX29) January 11, 2014
— Everett Will (@DCAbloob) January 11, 2014
@capitalweather I have Directv but depend more on u guys & local weather for info. Too many reality shows on Wx Channel now.
— Sandy (@SandyF2000) January 11, 2014
@capitalweather the only real valuable thing about TWC anymore is live coverage. They are great with that
— Pierce Larkin (@pierce_larkin) January 11, 2014
@capitalweather i'm naming this "Contract Dispute Bob"
— Darren Buck (@bikepedantic) January 11, 2014