The Weather Channel will return to DIRECTV (channel 362) 4/10 as both companies have settled on a new agreement, the financial terms of which were not disclosed. The old contract between DirecTV and the Weather Channel expired at the end of last year. A contract extension expired 1/14 and the network was dropped.
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.
As part of the new pact, The Weather Channel agreed to reduce reality programming by half on weekdays; return instant local weather and allow authenticated DIRECTV customers to watch The Weather Channel’s video programming on multiple devices inside and outside the home.
“Our apologies to DIRECTV and their customers for the disruption of our service and for initiating a public campaign,” said David Kenny, CEO of the Weather Company, parent to The Weather Channel. “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.”
RBR-TVBR observation: According to SNL Kagan, the Weather Channel charges distributors an average of about 13 cents per subscriber per month. That’s not much, compared to entertainment networks such as USA and TNT and sports channels like ESPN that charge from 60 cents up to $5 per subscriber per month. However, the audience for the Weather Channel is also on average much smaller than those networks. We figure that 13 cents rate is the same or lower. Other MVPDs will likely now be willing to play chicken when it comes to future Weather Channel retrans. deals. The network cannot afford to be greedy. We know they’ve beefed up their programming and personalities over the past few years, but if that doesn’t translate to more viewers, they may have tried to fix a revenue model with DirecTV that wasn’t broken.