The Weather Channel Issues DirecTV Price Hike Reminder in Carriage Contretemps

On a day when DirecTV subscribers were scheduled to receive notification about a rate increase for 2014, The Weather Channel made sure they knew about it via a newspaper ad.

The network, which has been off the DBS giant’s air since late on Jan. 13 in a carriage-fee dispute, ran ads in the Feb. 6 editions of USA Today, Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the headline “DirecTV’s Broken Promise,” the message points out that DirecTV customers will be paying an average increase of 3.7% this year, that the provider has dropped The Weather Channel, that it is charging steep cancellation fees and it has been the subject of a class-action suit over deceptive policies on that front.

The programmer, which says there haven't been any negotiations since last month's drop, has previously run ads emphasizing its position in the dispute and challenging DirecTV numbers indicating that only a fraction of its customers have been affected by the loss of The Weather Channel.

Before the disconnect, The Weather Channel was the most widely distributed cable network with some 100 million subscribers, a total that has dropped to 80 million sans a presence on DirecTV.

The nation's No. 2 distributor maintains that very few of its customers have missed the absence of The Weather Channel, that the network's viewership has declined of late, that its sub base rejects the programmer's long-form fare and that its monthly asking price is too steep and should be lowered.

According to Nielsen data, The Weather Channel's viewership and delivery of adults 25 to 54 grew 4% and 8%, respectively, in January, despite missing one-fifth of its sub count. Last month, was severe relative to winter storms descending on many parts of the nation.