The Weather Channel Wants Congress to Help Them Negotiate a Business Deal with DirecTV

DirecTV and the Weather Channel are at an impasse, as the two companies have not come to terms about a distribution agreement. Now the Weather Channel wants viewers to contact congress to tell government leaders how important the Weather Channel is for life safety issues related to the weather.

“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.”

— David Kenny, the chief executive of Weather Channel parent Weather Co.

The Weather Channel is asking its viewers, especially DirecTV viewers, to call their congressmen and senators and “ask them to help keep this “critical public safety resource in the DirecTV lineup.” The Weather Channel added, “given the increasing frequency and severity of weather-related emergencies across the country, access to timely and accurate weather information is imperative for public safety and, therefore, an issue meriting congressional attention.”

DirecTV recently added a channel called WeatherNation, which is also in the weather forecasting business, but doesn’t have the size, brand equity, or programming of the Weather Channel. DirecTV placed WeatherNation right next to the Weather Channel on the channel lineup. The Weather Channel executives were not happy with the positioning, but The Weather Channel, which has a much smaller audience than more expensive sports programming cable channels may have to cave to DirecTV demands.

If The Weather Channel goes, DirectTV believes WeatherNation provides a better alternative for the dramatic claims that The Weather Channel has been making. Some believe it is ironic while the Weather Channel claims there is an increase in severe weather while there is also an increase in their reality TV programming.

In the middle of Chicago’s severe weather with sub-zero cold, much of the evening programming on the Weather Channel showed The Prospector’s — a television about people mining for gold and quartz. During local weather segments, the audio from upcoming commercial advertisement were out of synch and confused viewers of their local weather programming. The programming was hardly good evidence for their case in pleading to Congress to help them keep their constituents informed with urgent weather messages.

WeatherNation, DirecTV said, provides “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.”

The Weather Channel has set up a website to support their efforts …

Locally WeatherNation is available on the digital subchannel 50.3 on WPWR-TV. Comcast carries WeatherNation in Little Rock, Arkansas; Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Flint, Michigan; and Minneapolis, St. Paul.

Currently, the WeatherNation website pales in comparison to The WeatherNation website is low on content, and has a poorly organized design — sometimes with multiple videos playing. While using the website in Chicago, a click on local forecast brought up a Mid-Atlantic forecast.

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