The Weather Channel HD Gains Momentum As Many Cable Companies Add The Service To Their Lineups
ATLANTA - April 16, 2008 -- With the large-scale transition to its new $60-million HD studio underway, The Weather Channel is announcing a number of the launches for The Weather Channel HD. Leading MSOs including Comcast, Charter, Time Warner and Cox are adding The Weather Channel HD to their lineups in various markets. The groundwork was laid for this escalation of distribution through affiliate agreements signed earlier with all major MSOs for the carriage of the network's HD programming.
Time Warner Cable has launched The Weather Channel HD in Albany, NY, and in Texas on Time Warner systems in Waco, Austin and San Antonio. Time Warner launches of TWC HD will take place in Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens April 30.
Comcast Cable launched The Weather Channel HD in Boston and Brookline April 3; Comcast plans to launch the service for HD viewers in the Northwest New Jersey system May 15.
Cox Communicationslaunched the HD network in Baton Rouge and Lafayette April 15.
Charter Communications has launched The Weather Channel HD in St. Louis, MO, in parts of Georgia that include areas in the vicinity of Atlanta, and in systems in Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota, Nebraska and Michigan.
As the audience for The Weather Channel HD builds, the network has nearly completed outfitting a newly-constructed HD facility that houses studios that will revolutionize the look of programming on the 24/7 weather information network. The 5,000-sq.-ft., four-story-high studio has a spectacular lighting system, new set designs for each program, and a 37-foot long projection screen which will serve as a versatile high-tech backdrop for maps, graphics, video, and live shots from the field.
Rehearsals begin in May with the first of the new HD studio presentations to premiere on June 2. Upon completion of this transition to the HD studio in 2008, almost all of the programming on the network will originate in the true HD format. The network will have production and transmission technology in place to provide select field coverage of severe weather in HD starting with the first day of hurricane season, June 1.
Launches of The Weather Channel HD by other cable companies are adding to its widespread distribution. RCN-Chicago completed a launch in Chicago in January;
RCN-Boston plans to launch TWC HD in Boston July 8. In February, Service Electric Cable TV launched the service in Allentown/Bethlehem, PA and in Phillipsburg and Hardyston Township in New Jersey.
On May 12, Service Electric Cablevision plans launches in Pennsylvania in the systems of Birdsboro, Hazleton and Sunbury.
Blue Ridge Communications launched the service on April 1 for its Pennsylvania systems in Palmertown, Newberry and Millburg. ETC Communications will launch The Weather Channel HD in Ellijay, GA on May 1.
Bresnan Communications has launches planned in Montana starting May 1 in the towns of Missoula, Billings, Bozeman and Helena.
Earlier this year, The Weather Channel reported completion of HD carriage agreements with all six of the top six TV programming distributors. In addition to Time Warner, Comcast, Cox and Charter, the six include both satellite distributors, DirecTV and EchoStar Communications. DirecTV added The Weather Channel HD on October 1.
"As HD programming becomes more and more in demand by consumers, we are pleased to be on the ground floor with the programming distributors who are moving ahead decisively to bring this exciting new format to the television-watching public," said Becky Powhatan, executive vice president for distribution and business affairs and general counsel for The Weather Channel Companies. "We are excited about the quality of our HD service and know that our distributors and their customers will welcome The Weather Channel HD to their options for HD viewing," she added.
About The Weather Channel Companies
The Weather Channel companies (TWCC) are made up of The Weather Channel® television network, The Weather Channel digital properties, and WSI. The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta and is seen in more than 100 million U.S. households. TWCC also operates Weatherscan®, a 24-hour all-local weather network; The Weather Channel Radio Network; and The Weather Channel HD. The most popular source of weather news and information, TWCC properties reach 60 million monthly Web consumers (weather.com and Desktop) and 32 million monthly mobile users (mobile Web and applications) and offers the second most popular mobile app on all smartphones. WSI, headquartered in Andover, MA, primarily provides business-to-business weather services, particularly for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. TWCC is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit www.weather.com/press.