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DirecTV drops Weather Channel over dispute

DirecTV customers may soon be looking elsewhere to get an update on the weather. The satellite TV company announced that it will no longer be carrying the Weather Channel because of a dispute over distribution terms. DirecTV has over 20 million subscribers and is one of the top satellite TV companies in the country.

The Weather Channel's chief executive stated that the drop in programming came as a surprise because the channel had offered DirecTV its best rate and had only asked for a penny extra, per subscriber per month. DirecTV countered, saying the rate was more than that. The Weather Channel also said that access to weather information that is up to date and accurate is increasingly important and asked fans of the channel to contact Congress and senators to complain.

The chief content officer of DirecTV said the decision came down to more than finances and pointed out that consumers are now realizing that the Weather Channel does not have a corner on the market. He also said that viewers are wanting a channel that gives weather reports all the time, instead of the other non-weather programming becomingly increasingly common on the Weather Channel.

The recent addition of WeatherNation to DirecTV's programming provided the company with a network to take the Weather Channel's spot in the lineup, and DirecTV also carries 1,600 local stations, which provide local weather and news coverage to subscribers. AccuWeather is also working on developing a TV channel that is expected to debut in the second half of this year.

Disputes between programmers and distributors are becoming increasingly common in business litigation. Many disagreements come down to price, and increased programming costs often get passed down to subscribers. As networks continue to vie for viewers, it is likely these types of disputes will continue.

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

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