DirecTV’s carriage deal with The Weather Channel expires at the end of the year and no new carriage deal has been signed yet. Meanwhile, on 12/16 DirecTV added multicast network Weather Nation, an alternative to The Weather Channel, and placed it at channel 361, right next to The Weather Channel’s spot on channel 362. The sudden addition could either be a retrans negotiation tactic or a backup in case they don’t come to a new deal—one that will likely be in DirecTV’s favor.
The LA Times noted Dish also added The Weather Nation in 2010 while it was negotiating a new deal with The Weather Channel. The two sides were able to work out an agreement and The Weather Nation soon left Dish’s lineup.
DirecTV CFO Patrick Doyle recently said at an investors day meeting the company was prepared to drop low-rated channels to save money on programming costs. The LA Times said TWC, despite its high-profile, averages only around 200,000 viewers every day.
RBR-TVBR observation: Look for this tactic to possibly be used with other MVPDs. TWC has great carriage but cannot afford to be greedy. It’s just weather, after all.