DirecTV loses Weather Channel over contract dispute

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

Recent weather events such as the Polar Vortex and severe drought conditions highlight the need for communities, businesses and families to be prepared to face such harsh weather conditions. Many Louisiana residents likely rely on weather news channels to give them updates on weather conditions. With these channels readily available, most people take weather news for granted. But, what many may not know is that there are a lot of behind-the-scene negotiations between companies, which take place to ensure programming stays on the air.

Louisiana residents who are customers of DirecTV may find it interesting to learn that following a failed contract negotiation between DirecTV, a well-known satellite broadcaster, and the Weather Channel, the reputed channel was dropped by DirecTV. This new development came about after the two failed to agree on the terms of a distribution deal.

According to the CEO of Weather Channel, DirecTV was offered the best rate for their weather programming, but DirecTV did not accept it. Allegedly, Weather Channel was seeking a one cent increase per DirecTV subscriber. However, DirecTV spokesman indicated that the issue was a lot larger than Weather Channel led on. One industry consultant noted that on average, the fee is typically about 13 cents per subscriber on a monthly basis. However, because DirecTV is such a large distributor of programming, their rate is much lower.

In an effort to compensate for the loss of Weather Channel, DirecTV added another, lesser known weather channel called WeatherNation to its programming. The CEO of Weather Channel noted that DirecTV is substituting the excellence in weather reporting and weather expertise they offer with a sub-standard weather channel that has no field coverage.

In recent times, disputes between various programmers, and distributors of such programming is becoming routine. Unfortunately, such disagreements impact consumers, and in the long run affect the customer base, who may be dissatisfied by the constant dropping of programming. Contract negotiations and contract disputes are part of any business. But, to avoid negative ramifications, and prevent potentially losing a workable business relationship, it is essential to have a legal firm familiar with such transactions to help ease the process.

Source: Los Angeles Times “DirecTV no longer carrying Weather channel after contract dispute,” Joe Flint, Jan. 13, 2014