DirecTV boots Weather Channel in ‘unprecedented’ contract dispute

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DirecTV satellite executives have given the boot to the Weather Channel, a dramatic decision that caps weeks of contentious contract disputes that included a meteorologist-driven push to paint the television provider as unconcerned with Americans’ welfare.

“This is unprecedented for the Weather Channel,” said David Kenny, the CEO of the Weather Channel’s parent company, in a CNN Money report. “In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement.”

Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, DirecTV’s lineup showed no listing for the Weather Channel. Instead, the satellite distributor listed the 24-hour WeatherNation.

The Weather Channel had tried for weeks to drum up public support for its sides in the contract talks with DirecTV, painting the provider in a poor light and accusing it of placing Americans’ lives in danger.

For example, one headline on Weather.com stated: “The Weather Channel isn’t just another TV network. It’s a must-have resource that keeps families safe.” The channel writers went on to say that its meteorologists provide a “critical life-saving community resource” for 20 million in the nation.

In a letter from well-known meteorologist Jim Cantore, the channel pushed that DirecTV was irresponsible to “deny their viewers access to critical and potentially life-saving information in times of severe weather,” CNN Money reported.

Mr. Kenny described the Weather Channel’s strategy as provocative, but true.

“[It’s] a strong compelling argument, and I think it resonates because it’s true,” he said, CNN Money reported.

DirecTV, meanwhile, argues otherwise.

“Things have been relatively quiet” between the two companies this week, said Dan York, chief content officer for DirecTV, in CNN Money. But a “significant gap” in contract negotiations remains, and “we’re hoping that we can find a way to come to terms.”

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