Weather Channel Returns To DirecTV After Promise To Cut Reality Shows

The satellite carrier removed the channel from its lineup in January after a battle over fees. Tuesday’s deal to restore service came with a set of major compromises.

Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore reports on Hurricane Irene from New York City’s Battery Park in 2011. Jonathan Saruk / Weather Channel

The Weather Channel is returning to DirecTV after a bitter months-long public dispute that saw the channel dropped to some 20 million subscribers, the two companies announced Tuesday.

The satellite carrier removed the Weather Channel from its lineup in January after a battle over fees paid by the carrier. Tuesday’s deal to restore the service, however, came with a set of major compromises from the TV network.

The Weather Channel agreed to slash reality programming by half on weekdays, return instant local weather service, and allow DirecTV customers to watch the Weather Channel’s video programming on devices both inside and outside the home.

The Atlanta-based network, which employs 220 meteorologists, had been seeking a price increase equating to about 1 cent per subscriber per month, which DirecTV rejected, citing the network’s low ratings and reality programming. Instead, the satellite carrier replaced the channel on its lineup with smaller competitor WeatherNation. Last week, DirecTV announced a multiyear deal with WeatherNation.

The CEO of the Weather Channel’s parent the Weather Company apologized for the interruption and public feud that included a high profile campaign asking viewers and Congress to demand DirecTV restore the service.

“Our apologies to DirecTV and their customers for the disruption of our service and for initiating a public campaign,” Kenny said in a statement. “Our viewers deserve better than a public dispute, and we pledge to reward their loyalty with exceptional programming and more weather-focused news.”

DirecTV will now carry both the Weather Channel and WeatherNation side-by-side on its lineup. The financial terms of Tuesday’s deal with the Weather Channel were not released.

“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.”

The Weather Channel launched a web campaign in January featuring a video message from on-air meteorologist Jim Cantore urging viewers to help keep its programming on the air. http://keeptheweatherchannel.com

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