The Weather Channel Improves January Ratings, Despite DirecTV Disconnect

The Weather Channel, despite losing one-fifth of its subscriber base for more than half the month, posted audience and demo gains during January.

The network averaged 236,000 viewers during the month, a 4% increase from January 2013, according to Nielsen data, The Weather Channel also improved its delivery among persons 25 to 54 by 8% to 82,000 of those watchers. Officials at the service also said that the time spent viewing metric grew 11% versus the prior-year period.

The amelioration came even though The Weather Channel has been off of DirecTV’s air since late on Jan. 13, as the parties have been unable to reach a renewal on a new carriage contract. Their deal was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013 but was extended for another two weeks before the signal was dropped.

“Despite the loss of 20 million DirecTV subscribers, we experienced impressive year-over-year growth in January,” said David Clark, president of The Weather Channel.  "What DirecTV has completely misunderstood is that during storms, people turn first, second and third to their televisions, and that for better or worse, demand for our deep, round-the-clock, expert storm coverage is increasing."

January has been a severe weather month with a number of storms engulfing various regions of the nation.