Weather Channel Launches Campaign To Stay On DirecTV

The Weather Channel is creating a storm for DirecTV in an effort to stop the satellite service from dropping the network this Tuesday.

Network officals said Saturday during the Television Critics Association press tour that it is currently "at an impasse" in negotiations with DirecTV to renew its carriage deal before it expires Tuesday morning.That has prompted the launch of a campaign encouraging DirecTV viewers to call Congress and ask them to help keep the network on the top DBS provider's lineup.  The network has also launched a website for the campaign, and installed on-air countdown clock, marking the time until the deal expires.

Weather Channel Company chairman and CEO David Kenny said the network has offered DirecTV “the industry’s best rate” for its programming and is “committed” to reaching an agreement.

“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,” Kenny said in a statement. “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.”

DirecTV responded with this 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 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.” 

During Weather Channel's TCA panel, network president David Clark defended the network’s stance as a pseudo public utility by saying consumers trust and rely on the network’s information during inclement weather conditions. “You need to know that the information is from a trusted source,” Clark said.

The Weather Channel anchor Sam Champion, who will host a new morning show on the network, added that first responders also rely on the network for updated information during major weather storms.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.