Weather Channel Shines Again on DirecTV

Weather Channel and DirecTV reached an agreement, ending a near three-month long blackout.

Weather Channel has agreed to reduce the amount of reality programming on the network by half on weekdays, return instant local weather, and allow authenticated DirecTV customers to watch The Weather Channel’s video programming on devices inside and outside the home, the companies said.

DirecTV had been looking to cut the fee it pays for The Weather Channel, citing a decline in viewership and an increase in non-weather programming. But according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal, Weather Channel is getting a small increase in its per subscriber fee.

On average, The Weather Channel receives 13 cents per subscriber per month from distributors, according to SNL Kagan.

The two companies did not comment on financial terms of the agreement. It is pretty unusual these days unusual for a distributor to force content changes on a programmer. Many programmers have been able to makes changes in the names and programming of channels and not lose much of their distribution.

One reason for ending the fight was because one of Weather Channel’s owners was involved in a bigger deal with DirecTV. According to people familiar with the situation The Blackstone Group, which owns a stake in Weather Channel, also owns a piece of Hilton, which yesterday announced that DirecTV would be its preferred TV provider. In order to close that deal, the Weather Channel situation had to be fixed, the sources said.

DirecTV dropped Weather Channel on Jan 14. It picked up an alternative service WeatherNation, which it will continue to carry.

The two companies did not comment on financial terms of the agreement.

“Our apologies to DirecTV and their customers for the disruption of our service and for initiating a public campaign,” David Kenny, CEO of the Weather Company, parent to The Weather Channel, said in a statement. “Our viewers deserve better than a public dispute and we pledge to reward their loyalty with exceptional programming and more weather focused news.”

“It’s a shame these disputes are played out on a public stage, but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to work together with The Weather Channel in a way that will benefit everyone,” said Dan York, DirecTV’s chief content officer. “I know this was frustrating for many of our customers, but their patience was ultimately rewarded with a better deal and a better product.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.