ATLANTA -- January 14, 2014 -- At 12:01 this morning, The Weather Channel is no longer available on DIRECTV, which refused to come to an agreement on a market-based carriage deal. Following is a statement from David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company:
“This is unprecedented for The Weather Channel. In our 32 years, we have never had a significant disruption due to a failure to reach a carriage agreement. We offered DIRECTV the best rate for our programming, and I am shocked they have put corporate profits ahead of keeping a trusted channel that subscribers rely on every day. We are not looking for a large fee increase. We are simply looking for a fair deal that allows our company to continue to invest in the science and technology that enables us to keep people safe, deliver the world’s best weather, and tell weather stories to help people be prepared and informed.
“At a time when DIRECTV has increased customer rates by 4 percent, they are trading safety for increased profits and replacing the experience and expertise of The Weather Channel with a cheap startup that does weather forecasting on a three-hour taped loop, has no field coverage, no weather experts -- certainly not any on par with The Weather Channel network’s industry-recognized experts like tornado expert Dr. Greg Forbes and winter weather expert Tom Niziol -- and no experience in severe weather emergencies. This is a dangerous gamble over one penny a month that puts DIRECTV customers at risk.
“This reckless move by DIRECTV will have an impact on our role as part of the national safety and preparedness fabric of our country at a time when the volatility and frequency of weather events seems to be increasing. The Weather Channel partners with humanitarian and emergency management agencies at the local, state and federal levels. We help people prepare before storms, stay safe during their effects, and find help afterward. If the network is not available to viewers, the effectiveness of these partnerships, which help make us a more weather ready nation, are jeopardized. I am hopeful DIRECTV will come to their senses soon and will not force its customers to change carriers to stay safe and informed.”