At 12:01 this morning, DirecTV dropped The Weather Channel, as the two sides could not come to an agreement on a carriage deal.
David Kenny, chairman and chief executive officer of The Weather Company, called the move “unprecedented” and “reckless,” saying, “In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement. 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. 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.”
He added: “At a time when DirecTV has increased customer rates by 4 percent, 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 … This is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DirecTV customers at risk.”
Fired back Dan York, chief content officer of DirecTV: “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.”
“Most consumers don’t want to watch a weather information channel with a forecast of a 40 percent chance of reality TV,” he quipped.
Negotiations are ongoing.
On Saturday, The Weather Channel called on DirecTV subscribers to contact their congressmen as a last-ditch intervention measure in the dispute, insisting that the service provided is one of public safety. At the cable channel’s Television Critics Association winter press tour panel later that same day, a spokesperson for the company said of the likelihood for an 11th hour agreement: “Right now it’s not looking so good.”